Senators will need to delay their departures for August recess.
Shortly after eight rank-and-file Republican senators urged postponing the recess to focus on the GOP agenda, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the break would start two weeks later than originally scheduled.
“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell said in a statement.
The Kentucky Republican criticized Democrats for slow-walking the pace of nominations and other legislative business. McConnell said that the fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill will be on the floor agenda after finishing up work on efforts to roll back the 2010 health care law. He also pointed to nomination votes.
McConnell’s announcement followed calls from within the Republican conference for such a delay led by Sen. David Perdue. The Georgia senator discussed the matter with President Donald Trump at the outset of the July Fourth break. Perdue and seven other Republicans held a news conference Tuesday to tout their effort ahead of McConnell’s announcement.
South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds was among the backers of Perdue’s effort. “Even if we can’t do the entire recess or the entire state work days back here in Washington, then let’s at least try to do one or two weeks back here in Washington, rather than on CODELs or back during the state work days or the state work periods and spend some time on the floor of the Senate to work through this process,” Rounds said. “Wouldn’t it be a refreshing thing if the American people could actually see a seriousness about doing things on-time for a change, even if it meant disrupting a planned schedule for the United States Senate.”
Roughly an hour later, he got his wish.
Ed Pesce contributed to this story.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of senators at a news conference who called for the delay.