Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may punish obstructive Democrats slow-walking Trump nominees with longer workweeks, which could leave several vulnerable senators unable to effectively campaign for reelection.
According to the Washington Examiner, White House legislative affairs point man Marc Short explained the strategy to a group of Republican donors this week. In addition to pressuring Democrats intent on holding up Trump’s nominees to move forward with the process, longer Senate workweeks would keep red state Democrats like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin from being able to campaign.
“McConnell wants to increase the days the Senate is open for business to keep [senators] tied up from campaigning,” a donor attendee told the Washington Examiner.
According to the Examiner, the meeting was not a fundraiser but was “organized by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP campaign arm.”
While McConnell’s office has not disputed that account, spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier stressed that “confirming the president’s nominees is and will remain a top priority for the Senate as was demonstrated last week,” referring to McConnell’s threats of a weekend floor session last week that resulted in a group of nominees being confirmed.
“We have a number of nominees to consider in the next several days,” said McConnell last week. “The Senate’s workweek will not end until all of these amply qualified nominees are confirmed.”
While Democrats don’t yet have enough votes to completely block nominees, they have used parliamentary procedures as a delaying tactic to slow confirmations.
“The delay and obstruction tactics are historic,” said Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, according to the Examiner. “We have to clear the backlog of nominations. That means we are here — that means we stay here; we should stay here. We’re here as long as it takes to get the job done.”