Friday, 17 August, 2018

GOP leader McConnell cancels most of Senate's August recess

Senator Lamar Alexander is also polling his colleagues on legislative items Congress often struggles with an agenda in an election year Senator Lamar Alexander is also polling his colleagues on legislative items Congress often struggles with an agenda in an election year
Faye Gross | 07 June, 2018, 09:09

Republicans control the Senate 51-49.

Senate leaders have hinted at being open to the amendment, suggesting it could make it to President Donald Trump's desk in the form of a must-pass piece of legislation.

Senators may be stuck in Washington in August but don't expect the House to follow suit. He said there were a number of issues Republicans still hadn't reached consensus on, like a question of whether there would be a special pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients ― or something akin to citizenship, like permanent legal status ― and he didn't see Republicans coalescing behind a bill before enough members signed onto a discharge petition that is now just three members short of forcing a vote.

And while seven incumbent Democrats are seen as competitive by analysts including the non-partisan Cook Political Report, just one Republican is. Dean Heller of Nevada, who is facing reelection in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently proposed similar legislation, which was also backed by Toomey and Flake, as well as by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., undergoes treatment for brain cancer in his home state. The majority leader is pointing to what he calls "historic obstruction" by the Democrats.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he would push for votes on expanding access to Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly; lowering drug costs and health insurance premiums; increasing tax credits for health insurance; and making sure people with pre-existing health conditions do not get priced out of insurance. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Democrats quickly seized on the news, saying the Republican is keeping them off the campaign trail ahead of the November midterm elections.

Starting Monday in the Senate, McConnell has teed up votes on three nominees to serve as federal district court judges, including the first Hispanic lawyer whom Trump nominated for the bench, Fernando Rodriguez Jr. of Texas. They hold a slim 51-49 advantage.

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders praised McConnell on behalf of the Trump administration during Tuesday's briefing. Dean Heller, who is considered the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election.

A more favorable Senate map has given them greater confidence about holding on to the upper chamber of Congress.

Democrats say the number of vacancies stems directly from Republicans blocking Obama's judicial nominees during his final two years in office.

Not all is lost for senators hoping to take a break. It would also be retroactive for the past two years-meaning it could rescind last month's controversial steel and aluminum tariffs. At the time, the party was still trying to undo the ACA.

Last November, the brothers helped fund Meredith Corporation's deal to buy USA magazine publisher Time Inc, which owns of some of the world's most famous magazine brands, sparking concerns that they would use their investment to wield editorial influence.

The August recess dates back to times before air conditioning when Washington became unbearably hot in the summer.

"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", said McConnell.

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