McConnell Delays Senate’s Summer Recess Two Weeks
In a sign that the ongoing health care reform debate inside the Senate GOP Caucus is not going well, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this afternoon that the Senate’s August recess would be delayed two weeks:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that he would cut the chamber’s August recess in half, saying the GOP needed more time to achieve its legislative goals given the protracted negotiations over health-care legislation and continued opposition from Democrats on several fronts.
“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,” said McConnell (R-Ky.).
In addition to health care and appointments, the Senate will also devote time to passing a defense authorization bill “and other important issues,” McConnell said. The Senate will now remain at work through the week of Aug. 7.
Work on the Senate’s health-care bill remained uncertain Tuesday, though McConnell told reporters he will release a revised bill by Thursday morning and hopes to receive a Congressional Budget Office analysis of that measure by the beginning of next week so the chamber can vote quickly.
McConnell’s announcement appeared designed to give Republicans time to move to other matters, such as raising the federal debt ceiling, after dispatching with a health-care vote.
“The debt ceiling must be raised,” McConnell told reporters.
This move appears to be designed to give the Senate additional time to deal with issues other than health care reform before leaving town, which in theory allows McConnell to devote most of the remaining legislative time in July to getting whatever revised plan the Senate ends up introducing later this week. If that bill fails, it will have more time to turn to the other matters that McConnell mentions, including pending nominations, the Defense Department spending bill, and the debt ceiling legislation that leadership in both the House and Senate appear committed to getting to the President as soon as possible in order to avoid the prospect of a shutdown between now and October 1st.