Mitch McConnell cancels most of August recess in Senate


WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) - U.S Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he was canceling most of the Senate's August recess to give lawmakers time to pass spending bills before a Sept. 30 deadline and to confirm more of President Donald Trump's appointees.

"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," McConnell said in a statement.

A senior Senate Democratic aide said the move had less to do with making legislative progress in the Senate and more to do with the November elections in which several Democratic incumbents are locked in tough campaigns for re-election.

McConnell's move, the aide said, was aimed at keeping those Democrats off the campaign trail and underscored Republican jitters over retaining majority control of the Senate in those elections.

McConnell said that the Senate will be in recess during the first week of August before returning for the rest of the month.

Congress' August recess normally is closely guarded as a time for lawmakers to take foreign "fact-finding" trips, campaign for re-election and ramp up their campaign fundraising operations.

The House of Representatives is still scheduled to be away the entire month of August.

Congress rarely finishes work by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, on the one-dozen individual appropriations bills to keep the federal government fully operating. Instead, a series of stop-gap spending bills often are enacted until lawmakers reach a deal on all the spending measures.

(Reporting by Colette Luke; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Originally published