The U.S. Senate will recess the first week of August, then return to work, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives normally take August off and go home to relax some and meet with consitituents, in part because the Washington D.C. heat and humidity in August can be as stifling as the deep partisan divide.
However, on May 10, 16 Republican senators wrote McConnell and urged him to forego the annual recess this year.
“At this pace, it is unlikely the President will have all of his nominees confirmed before the end of his term,” the letter said.
The senators also want to avoid another massive all-encompassing spending bill to keep the government funded. Congress is supposed to consider 12 separate appropriations bills, but seldom does.
“Looking ahead, there are only 67 working days left on the calendar this fiscal year,” the letter said. “That number drops to 52 if you exclude Fridays, as we usually do. This leaves only 12 weeks to get 12 appropriations bills out of committee and consider them on the floor. That alone is an impossible task. When combined with the crucial need to confirm more nominees, it is clear we do not have enough time.
The senators said they “stand ready to break through the confirmation backlog and get the government funded before we break in August, well before the Sept. 30 deadline.”
“We stand ready to work Mondays and Fridays, nights as well as weekends, to ensure the funding process is not used to jam the President with a bad spending deal,” they said in the letter.
Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse both signed the letter to McConnell.
“The Senate doesn’t work hard enough, so this is good news,” Sasse said. “While it’s obviously important that senators listen to and learn from our constituents at home, we need to pass a real budget this summer, not yet another pork-filled omnibus.”