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Leader McConnell: "The August Recess Has Been Canceled"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has canceled the Senate's August recess, citing Democratic obstructionism of President Donald Trump's nominees.

Sen. Mitch McConnell

According to McConnell's statement, he hopes for the Senate to "make additional progress on the president’s nominees," something that is sorely needed.

According to a CNN report, as of December 31, 2017, Trump nominated 502 individuals to serve in his administration. Only 300 of them were confirmed, a 59.8% success rate. For comparison, in Obama's first year, 68.7% of the nominees were confirmed, and in Bush's first year, 66.5% were confirmed.

Trump has had more success with his judicial appointments. According to a report by Above the Law, his administration "set a record for the most-ever federal appellate judges confirmed during the first year of a presidency."

However, this statistic can deceptively mask the breadth of the Democratic obstructionism, as there are more vacancies in the court than normal. As reported by The Daily Signal,

Trump came into office in January 2017 with 108 vacancies on the federal bench. Despite rapidly moving to fill the seats, he now has 178 current and known future vacancies, according to the Judicial Crisis Network.

The Daily Signal also reported that the slow process "is a result of Senate Democrats’ requiring 30 hours of debate for every nominee, even those who clear the Judiciary Committee unanimously or near unanimously."

This obstructionism has angered both Trump and McConnell. In June 2017, Trump wrote that Senate Democrats "are taking forever to approve my people" and that they "are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS!"

In his statement regarding the cancellation of the summer recess, 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 appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.

Commentator Alex Behzade thanked McConnell for ensuring "the confirmation of every Trump judge with this cancellation of the August recess."

However, The Daily Caller begrudgingly noted that McConnell will allow senators "to return home for state work during the first week of August."