by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senate Republicans on Wednesday were in intense discussions about canceling the August recess, a move that could cripple vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in red states.
With President Trump’s encouragement, Republicans are threatening to keep the Senate open for an extended summer session to process agenda items delayed by Democratic obstruction. But the political benefits of denying incumbent Democrats valuable time on the campaign trail is also factor in the Republicans’ deliberations, and why they appear more willing that usual to give up a treasured annual vacation. …
… This year, the seats up for grabs are mostly in Republican states where Trump’s job approval rating is near or above 50 percent. That is putting Democrats, who hold 49 seats, in danger of falling further into the minority, despite a national political atmosphere that favors their party to an extent that the GOP could lose control of the House.
To compensate, Senate Democrats running for re-election in states like Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia — and possibly others — need time at home on the campaign trail. Congress is unpopular; being holed up on Capitol Hill in August rather than connecting one-on-one with voters, as their Republican challengers are already doing, could prove devastating.
That’s why Republican threats to cancel the August recess, usually toothless regardless of which party controls the Senate, are being taken seriously in this instance.