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Tipsheet

Chuck Schumer Cancels October Votes, Sends Senate Home to Campaign

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The U.S. Senate's Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Thursday afternoon that no more votes would take place in his chamber until November 14, effectively canceling the Senate's October session and clearing members to head home for the final weeks of campaigning before November's midterms. 

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The move comes with fewer than 40 days until November's general election and as Democrats and Republicans remain locked in tight races to determine which party will control the upper chamber starting in 2023. 

It also means that the Senate will not be debating National Defense Authorization Act legislation as Schumer and his chamber intended to do next month — and it also raises questions if plans to do so were based on overly optimistic expectations for the incumbent Democrat senators facing GOP challengers this November. 

Perhaps things are looking a little too close for comfort for Democrats in battleground states, and Schumer's caucus told him they can't afford to spend time doing the business of the Senate when they're fighting for their political survival?

As a result, the Senate will have a month's worth of work to make up after the midterms when members return to Washington, some victorious and some in their final weeks as U.S. senators, for the lame duck period before the new Congress begins in January 2023. 

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Meanwhile the House of Representatives prepared to wrap up its final votes before the midterms on Friday, including the interim bill to avoid a government shutdown. While the House is expected to be out through election day, Pelosi's recent decision to extend COVID "health emergency" proxy voting until November 10 means that Democrats or Republicans in tight races could have continued voting remotely from their districts while campaigning if business wasn't put on hold until after the midterms. 

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