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Mitch McConnell Delays August Recess by Two Weeks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he will delay the start of the Senate’s August recess by two weeks to provide lawmakers more time to complete legislative items and confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees.

“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.

The Senate had originally been scheduled to close shop at the end of July, not to return until early September.

McConnell’s decision comes less than two weeks after he received a letter in late June from a group of 10 GOP senators urging him to shorten or cancel the scheduled August recess.

The GOP senators informed the majority leader that the remaining time on the Senate calendar “does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention.”

“Therefore,” the senators wrote, “We respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely forgoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work.”

The move will give Republican senators more time to meet Trump’s deadline of early August to pass their Obamacare replacement plan.

Trump tweeted how he “cannot imagine” that Congress would leave the nation’s capital for over a month before passing a health care bill.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Sunday on Fox News Sunday the president expects the Senate to stay in town until it passes its health care bill.

“Whether it’d be before August recess or during August recess, the president expects the Senate to fulfill the promises it made to the American people,” Priebus said.

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Trump is focused on making sure the Senate passes its health care bill.

“I don’t know that he’s going to lay out a list of consequences” for members of Congress who stall the bill, Sanders said. “His focus is making sure it gets done, not on what happens if it doesn’t.

The extra two working weeks will also give Republican senators more time to confirm Trump’s nominees.

“The Senate Democrats have only confirmed 48 of 197 Presidential Nominees. They can’t win so all they do is slow things down & obstruct!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short blasted Senate Democrats during an off-camera press briefing Monday for holding up Trump’s nominees “like school children taking their toys from the playground.”

“These obstruction tactics are carried out in the name of resisting the Trump administration and playing to a radical left-wing base. But it’s the will of the American people that is being denied,” Short told reporters.

According to a database run by The Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, only 47 individuals nominated to key executive branch positions have been confirmed by the Senate. Another 129 formally nominated individuals currently await Senate confirmation.

Trump has yet to select nominees for 382 key positions requiring Senate confirmation, according to the database.