(CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the start of the August Senate recess until the third week in August in order to allow more time for his conference to complete “its work on health care reform” among other tasks.
“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 until the third week of August,” McConnell announced in a statement.
While Republicans are still working through their plan to overhaul Obamacare, McConnell says there is plenty more work to do after that.
“Once the Senate completes its work on health care reform, we will turn to other important issues including the National Defense Authorization Act and the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats,” McConnell said.
The delay of the August recess came after a handful of rank-and file Republicans urged leadership to stay in Washington to finish their business rather than return home for the district work period.
Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, told CNN that he wasn’t too surprised recess had been delayed.
“We’ve got a lot of nominations to move through, we’ve got a lot of legislation to get through, we’ve got the health care legislation to deal with. I think the Senate needs to do its work,” he said.
Eight senators held a news conference earlier Tuesday on the topic of recess, during which they stood next to a large printed graphic warning: “31 working days until the fiscal year ends.”
“If you were going to school and were getting failing grades in spring semester, you better go to summer school, not take a recess,” said Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah indicated that Congress should look beyond just the month of August and rethink the entire schedule that’s remained largely the same for decades.
“We have an enormous amount of work to do,” Lee said, urging the Senate to consider working through weekends as well.