The Senate can finish up its work on a bill or a nomination quickly with the agreement of all 100 senators. But that rarely happens, and McConnell and Schumer often spend their days haggling over floor time to reach a consent agreement.
On Thursday, Democrats refused to give consent for the Senate to quickly pass a government funding bill, requiring McConnell to file cloture and set up a final vote possibly for as late as Wednesday, just hours before the Sept. 30 deadline. The move also prevents senators up for reelection from campaigning while they tend to Senate business next week.
“Right now I think they’re just trying to throw a wrench into anything we do,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters. “Obviously it’s retribution for the decision on the court and they just want to be difficult. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make sense to me either to bring everybody back next week when we could finish this today.”