Senate, After One Day Back at the Capitol, Packs It In for the Week

Chamber confirmed two circuit court judges and moved to appropriations package

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., runs in the Senate subway basement on Thursday, shortly before senators cast their last votes of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators didn’t exactly extend themselves with the floor schedule for their first week back in session in August, though they did confirm another pair of President Donald Trump’s nominees to be judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. and Julius Ness Richardson. 

Quattlebaum was confirmed Thursday on a 62-28 vote, while Richardson got by on an 81-8 vote. 

The heavier lift will come next week.

The Senate on Wednesday reached an agreement that allowed the body to turn to a package of the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education spending measures as soon as lawmakers voted to confirm Richardson. The order also took care of procedural issues that are particular to floor consideration of appropriation bills.

“This process is not easy. It is hard work for our Appropriations subcommittees and full committee to craft this legislation. Then, here on the floor, we need cooperation from both sides to process amendments while resisting the temptation to turn the appropriations process into a free-for-all on all manner of policy issues,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday morning.

“But this year, that’s just what we’re doing. The Senate has already passed sevenof 12 bills. In the next several days, we’ll consider No. 8 and No. 9. Once we finish them, they’ll encompass more than 87 percent of total discretionary spending,” the Kentucky Republican added. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer signaled his own support for the current vibe on appropriations.

“I hope we’ll follow the same, bipartisan course of the previous few bills,” the New York Democrat said on the floor. 

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