Getting the Job Done

Jun 08 2018

Last month, 15 of my colleagues and I sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging the Senate to “immediately begin work” on the appropriations bills needed to keep the federal government open past September 30, 2018.

We offered to work nights and weekends to make sure President Trump was not forced to sign another 2,000-page spending bill that had been written completely behind closed doors without any chance for amendment.

We even suggested that the Senate’s August recess ought to be cancelled if, after all those nights and weekends of work, we still couldn’t get the spending bills passed.

Unfortunately, since we sent that letter the Senate has not worked any nights. We haven’t worked any weekends, either. In fact, we’ve barely worked four days a week since the last vote is usually scheduled on Thursday. And no appropriations bills have been scheduled for a debate on the Senate floor.

Despite this lack of extra effort, McConnell announced this Tuesday that he was going to cancel August recess anyway. "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 explained.

And it is true: Senate Democrats have been obstructing Trump’s nominees at a historic pace. Already Senate Democrats have forced 101 cloture votes on Trump’s judicial and executive nominees, compared to just 12 cloture votes forced during the first two years of Obama’s presidency.

Democrats may argue that their obstruction is justified due to the controversial and unqualified nature of Trump nominations. And it is true that there have been some controversial and unqualified nominees. But the numbers show that those concerns are not what is driving Democratic obstruction. Of the 101 cloture votes forced by Democrats, 38 nominees later received more than 67 votes for final confirmation. In other words, Senate Democrats had no real objection to 38 of Trump’s nominees, - they voted to obstruct for the sole reason of obstructing!

But this obstruction from the Democrats is all the more reason we need to buckle down, work nights, work weekends, and start debating appropriations bills now!

My 15 conservative colleagues and I did not sign that letter in May with the goal of cancelling the August recess. Our goal is not to stay in Washington longer. Our goal is to get our jobs done.

And the best way we can do that is to start getting spending bills to the Senate floor where they can be debated and amended before being sent to the president.