‘The Senate will delay the start of the August recess,' Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announces
The Senate's Republican leadership announced Tuesday it would delay the start of the chamber's recess until the third week in August to allow more time to work on its legislative agenda, include repealing and replacing Obamacare.
“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
He said once the Senate completes its work "on health care reform" it will turn to a defense spending bill and presidential nominations "that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats".
The decision comes one day after eight Senators urged the chamber to forgo its traditional summer vacation to attend to work, and suggested it should begin working through weekends. The chamber was supposed to recess at the end of July.
The Senate, like the House, normally works Tuesday through Thursday.
McConnell is expected to unveil on Thursday new Republican legislation to replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care overhaul after a first effort failed to gain the necessary support to pass the chamber.
The majority leader told reporters at the Capitol he expects the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to release its assessment of the legislation next week.
The office's assessment of the first effort led many within McConnell's caucus to withhold their support after the CBO said it would result in 22 million more Americans lacking coverage than under existing law.
McConnell can ill afford to lose support from his party's rank and file.
Republicans hold a razor-thin 52-seat majority in the 100-member Senate, and McConnell will have to balance the desires of moderates, who are weary of increasing the number of their constituents who will lack insurance, with those who say the first draft legislation did not go far enough in eliminating Obamacare.