Senate Cancels Recess Amid Shutdown, But Lets Members Stay Home

(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said days ago he was canceling the chamber’s recess next week because of the partial government shutdown -- but he won’t be giving senators any reason to actually be in Washington.

Senate Cancels Recess Amid Shutdown, But Lets Members Stay Home

GOP leaders said Thursday there will be no Senate votes on Friday or next week, although the chamber will formally be in session during what had been a planned Martin Luther King recess. Senators are being told to be ready to return for votes if there’s any agreement to reopen the government, said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking GOP leader.

“We’ll be in session, but votes will be contingent on whether there is something we can vote on,” Thune said. “Right now we’re at an impasse.”

The Democratic-controlled House also canceled its vacation for next week, and it plans votes on measures including the party’s latest proposal to reopen most of the shuttered government agencies.

The Senate hasn’t voted on any legislation to fund the government since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

With no Senate votes scheduled, each day will probably feature a virtually deserted chamber, with a single senator opening the floor and then another closing it later. Senators will return to Washington the week of Jan. 28. President Donald Trump had been scheduled to deliver his State of the Union speech that week before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested delaying it.

Some senators are expressing growing frustration that there isn’t a serious effort to end the shutdown, now in its 27th day. Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said she requested a cancellation of the recess -- but she didn’t mean for everyone to split town.

“Look around,” she said as senators were preparing to catch planes after a final Senate vote. “There’s not going to be a lot of business going on here in the Congress next week.”

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