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Senate Busies Itself, Plus Chuck Norris and Some Cactus

The one-day work week is something we can all get behind

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor on Thursday for the final vote of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor on Thursday for the final vote of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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The Senate convened around noon on Wednesday. The Senate adjourned around 4:33 p.m. on Thursday. Now THAT is a work week!

Back on June 5, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he was canceling the traditional August recess, which usually runs to the tune of four or five weeks, anywhere from the end of July to after Labor Day. 

With the exception of one week back in their states, the week of Aug. 6, the Kentucky Republican said it was time for senators to get down to business. 

“Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees,” he said in a statement back then. 

The House thought more of its time back in-district and split on July 26, not to return until Sept. 4. 

And the Senate? Well, senators departed for the Aug. 6 mini-recess on Aug. 1, and arranged to reconvene on Aug. 14. Then they kicked that forward a day, and came back on the Ides of August.

Four roll call votes, two to cut off debate and two confirmation votes on two circuit court nominees, and a little over 24 hours later, the smell of jet fumes kicked in. They’ll be back on Monday to debate a two-bill spending package. 

It all fits into McConnell’s stated goal of confirming nominees and voting on appropriations packages. And the micro-work week is probably helpful to senators who have long flights back to the West Coast.

But for those keeping score at home: Canceling August recess, as of now, means the Senate, at least this month, has been in session on Aug. 1, Aug. 15 and Aug. 16 and has conducted 10 roll call votes. 

This Week’s Podcast

Ben Foster, left, discusses his latest movie
Ben Foster, left, discusses his latest movie “Leave No Trace,” with Political Theater host Jason Dick. (David Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Actor Ben Foster has made a career out of portraying tough, intense dudes, including veterans of America’s current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His latest film, “Leave No Trace,” continues that thread.

It’s the story of a veteran trying to figure out how to build a safe, albeit unconventional life for himself and his daughter. On the latest Political Theater Podcast, Foster discussed the film, as well as his difficulty making sense of the political world. It comes at a time of intense debate about how to take care of veterans, especially those who, in Foster’s words, are “slipping through the cracks.” 


The Kicker

(Screen shot)

Chuck Norris can make Saguaro cactus grow in Texas! Or not.

When the actor who plays Walker, Texas Ranger, endorsed Republican Foster Friess for governor of Wyoming this week, he emailed out his message to all folks political. But look to the left of Norris’ Texas-Ranger-badge-bearing visage, though, and you’ll see a strand of Saguaro cactus. Except: They don’t grow in Texas. Or Wyoming. They only grow in the Sonoran Desert, (mostly Arizona and Sonora, Mexico) which neither Texas or Wyoming is in.

Wyomingites go to the polls on Tuesday. Perhaps, just to be careful, they should watch out for rogue Saguaros. 

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