McConnell Cancels August Recess "Due To Historic Democrat Obstruction"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has  issued a statement canceling the August recess, "due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats."

McConnell Statement:

Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled."

"Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees"

But there may be an ulterior motive to McConnell's decision.

By way of background, Politico reports that a group of more junior senators are publicly urging McConnell to cancel recess to get the Senate’s work done - and to keep 10 vulnerable Democratic senators off the campaign trail. A group of 16 senators sent McConnell a letter this month urging him to cancel the regular summer break.

Politico noted that if McConnell were to cancel much or all of the August recess, Republicans could find themselves short of votes to pass nominations or bills. With Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) out of work battling cancer, Republicans currently only control 50 votes, so any absences could be decisive. Vulnerable Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) will also want to be at home campaigning.

Still, the Senate election map is so tilted against Democrats that merely threatening to cancel the recess could prod them to cooperate, lest they lose critical days on the stump.

So now McConnell has made the gamble - we will see if it works to keep Democrats from their midterm campaigning or backfire with even more gridlock and/or failed nominations and bills.