Senate delays recess until third week of August as health-care disagreements linger

Key Points
  • Mitch McConnell says the Senate is delaying its August recess as it faces a packed legislative agenda.
  • Senate Republicans have struggled to muster the support needed to pass their Obamacare replacement plan.
Sen. Mitch McConnell delays August recess two weeks

The Senate is delaying its upcoming recess until the third week of August as it faces a packed legislative agenda and Republicans struggle to reach a consensus on an Obamacare replacement plan.

"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," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Tuesday.

The break will be shortened by two weeks to give senators more time to work toward legislative priorities. The announcement comes as disagreements within the Republican Party have delayed an overhaul of the U.S. health-care system and threatened to set back other action, like raising the debt ceiling, passing an appropriations bill or approving a tax reform plan.

A group of 10 Republican senators had called on McConnell to shorten the recess as the GOP struggled to make progress on its broad agenda.

McConnell said that "once the Senate completes its work on health-care reform," it will turn to "other important issues" like the National Defense Authorization Act and President Donald Trump's nominees for government posts who await Senate confirmation.

McConnell said Tuesday that a revised version of the health-care bill is expected to come Thursday morning. At least eight GOP senators still oppose the plan as written now. Republicans can only lose two votes and still pass the bill.

The prospects of a bipartisan plan to stabilize insurance markets has increased recently as doubts grow about the GOP's ability to pass a plan on its own.