Canceling the August recess was the best thing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could have done this summer, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested on Tuesday. The extra time allowed the Senate to approve more judges and executive branch nominees.
Cancelling August recess resulted in the most productive Senate work period in recent memory. Today alone we confirmed seven more judges & 27 executive branch nominees (including a U.S. Attorney & 2 U.S. Marshalls from #Florida). Next week we will confirm another 8 judges.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 29, 2018
That brings Trump's total number of confirmed federal judges to 60. Those individuals include 33 district court judges, 26 appeals court judges and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The latter appointment is considered one of McConnell's greatest accomplishments, at least among conservatives.
Many are noting that the summer of 2018 will be even more productive should the Senate successfully confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled his confirmation hearings to begin next week. Democrats want to postpone the hearing after his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight charges of bank and tax fraud, and after his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes, and said Trump directed him to commit some of those crimes.
McConnell's office produced its own report about Congress's efforts in August, including:
APPROPRIATIONS: Passed 6 appropriations bills: Defense, Labor-HHS-Education AND Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture, Transportation-HUD.
JOHN S. McCAIN NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT: Legislation to help further modernize America’s military signed into law.
JUDGES: Confirmed 15 judges, and set up confirmation votes for 8 more.
FARM BILL: House and Senate Conference appointed; working to finalize legislation.
NOMINATIONS: Dozens of executive branch nominees confirmed.
“August is usually a time for Senators to spend more time in our home states, meeting with our constituents and reporting on the progress we’ve made in Washington," McConnell said Tuesday. "But this August had to be different. There was too much business left unfinished. So I made the decision to keep the Senate in session this month to continue working on behalf of the American people. I’m proud to report that is just what we’ve done.”
Republican lawmakers are perhaps hoping their judicial accomplishments will play well come midterm time.