Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is not a beloved figure in Republican grassroots circles. However, he may have an opportunity to change the way he’s perceived if he can lead the Republicans to victory in the 2018 midterms.
Lucky for McConnell, the Democrats may have just handed the GOP the key to winning in November.
By dragging their feet on confirming President Trump’s nominees to various government offices, the Democrats have set a record for intransigence that our nation has never seen. Almost two years into his presidency and the President still hasn’t been able to fill the positions in the Administrative branch. This frustrating level of opposition has stymied Trump and McConnell’s efforts at staffing the government, but as Senate Majority Leader McConnell did have one intriguing option. He could force the Senate to skip their August recess, and stay in D.C. to work.
Which is exactly what he decided to do.
However, the move has more than one positive benefit for the GOP. Not only will it help Trump get his government staffed, it will force endangered Democrat incumbents to miss their opportunity to go home and campaign before the November midterm election. Traditionally, Senators would be returning home to travel their state, meet with voters and attempt to drum up support for their reelection campaigns. By cancelling the recess, McConnell keeps at-risk Democrats from campaigning even as their opponents grow stronger by doing some campaigning of their own.
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Cancelling the recess is a win-win for Republicans, and it may just be the straw that breaks the back of the Democrat Party in the Senate.
But the best part is… it was Senate Democrats, with their refusal to do their jobs, that laid the ground work for this move. It’s poetic justice, and it’s beautiful.
Here’s McConnell explaining why he’s canceling the August recess:
Partial Transcript from RCP:
Well good afternoon everyone. As you may have heard, I’ve canceled the August recess. We have a lot of important work to do. As a result of unprecedented obstruction for example, we’ve had 100 closure votes in the first two years of this President.
Only 24 closure votes in the first two years of the last six Presidents on nominations. In addition to that, the President’s made it quite clear he doesn’t intend to sign another omnibus, and in order to prevent that obviously we should do our work, which is to pass individual appropriations bills.
Chairman Shelby and Senator Leahy I think have a very cooperative relationship in moving forward with that. We think we have a good chance of passing a number of appropriation bills. In order to do that and in order to deal with this nominations backlog, it’s necessary for us to be here in August and to do our work.
In the short term, we are going to turn to the Defense Authorization Bill and the Farm Bill before the one week around July 4th. In addition to that, we’re trying to get time agreements on the FAA Bill, on the Water Infrastructure Bill.
All of these we need to be trying to process between now and the July recess. So that’s the schedule over the next few months…
I’m all for cooperation, but if you look at the amount of work that we have to do. It’s inconceivable to me that we can’t use these weeks, even with cooperation. We’ve got a lot of appropriation bills to — to pass.
We’ve got this backlog of nominations, certainly we anticipate and hope to have less obstruction on those, but I’ve been hoping for that for quite some time and it hasn’t occurred yet. Just to sum it up, I think we have enough work to do for the American people that we should be here during these weeks.
I hope we’ll get greater cooperation, but everybody should anticipate that we will be here as I announced today.
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