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Amid 'obstruction' from Democrats, McConnell makes a bold move

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that the Senate will work through most of the month of August. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that most of the August recess typically enjoyed by members of the chamber will be called off this year.

While the first week of the typically off-month will still mean a reprieve for Senators, they'll be called back to Washington. McConnell said, "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 appropriation bills, and to make additional progress on the president's nominees."

Could there be any other reasons?

McConnell added that the Senate has "a lot of important work to do," but the move has also been seen as a way to give Republicans an advantage leading up to elections where Democrats are defending their turf.

Incumbent Democrats now face the conundrum of either staying in Washington to complete the people's work, or go back home to the campaign trail and risk criticism for skipping the session.

Meanwhile, Republican challengers would be able to remain on the campaign trail in key states if the sitting Democratic senators they challenge decide to stay in D.C.

But Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Sen. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) insists that his party doesn't oppose McConnell's decision, saying, "I think if we can actually get some things done for the American people, that's a good thing."

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who is up for re-election, didn't seem bothered either, saying, "Frankly, the best thing I can do for the people of Wisconsin is fight to lower health care costs, fight to lower prescription drug costs — and we look forward to the opportunity to deliver results on health care policy during the August recess."

What's the breakdown?

Senate Republicans currently have 51 members in the chamber, compared to the Democrats' 49 members. Holding on to that slim majority is their aim leading in the mid-term elections.


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