WASHINGTON -- With the government shutdown poised to break a record Saturday as the longest in U.S. history, the Senate will be home for another long weekend. Again.
With federal workers missing their first paychecks of the year Friday, senators were enjoying their fourth extended weekend since several federal agencies began furloughing employees and closing up shop.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, who has largely eschewed his usual role as a key Senate negotiator and made it clear he won't entertain legislation that doesn't have President Donald Trump's approval, allowed senators to return home early Thursday afternoon. They're scheduled back Monday night.
As a result senators had a quick work week. They didn't start until Tuesday night.
The week before that, when New Year's Day fell on a Tuesday? Gone Dec. 28, back Jan. 3.
And before that, the weekend that began Dec. 22, the day the partial shutdown started?
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Gone that afternoon and back, for about five minutes, Dec. 28.
On Friday this week, the Senate officially remained in session, but neither McConnell nor Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke on the Senate floor, as is their custom.
McConnell left Washington for Kentucky, a spokesman for his office said. Democrats assailed McConnell for shuttering the Senate and refusing to take up House spending bills that would get the government running.
McConnell's fellow Republicans suggested the majority leader could be involved in finding a way out of the shutdown that's closed nine Cabinet agencies and several smaller departments..