Gardner on the West Slope

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, right, was on the Western Slope as leaders in Washington were giving up on a Republican compromise for a coronavirus relief package Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.

The U.S. Senate is taking off for Labor Day, albeit before mid-August, as the Republican majority in the Senate, unable to broker a deal for COVID-19 assistance, blamed Democrats in the House and Senate for the impasse.

That's a big awkward for Sen. Cory Gardner, the Republican up for reelection in Colorado this year.

On May 20, he tweeted, "It’s unfathomable that the Senate is set to go on recess without considering any additional #COVID19 assistance for the American people. Anyone who thinks now is the time to go on recess hasn’t been listening. Coloradans and Americans alike have sacrificed and are hurting."

His campaign nor his Senate office responded to a request for comment.

Senate Republicans and the White House have been unable to broker a deal among its members, after the Democratic-led House passed its relief bill in May.

“If the speaker of the House and the minority leader of the Senate decide to finally let another rescue package move forward for workers and for families, it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday, according to the The Hill newspaper.

The Senate is officially on break until 3 p.m. on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. If not for the pandemic, the Senate might have been on break for their party conventions, which have been moved mostly online this year to accommodate public health and safety.

Senators leave town for the summer with pandemic relief, an economic crisis and civil unrest in their rear-view mirror.

Gardner has been campaigning relentlessly, as he faces former Gov. John Hickenlooper in November, who has been out of the spotlight since winning the Democratic primary. Colorado Politics has made repeated requests to interview Hickenlooper since.

Earlier this week, Gardner toured farms and ranches on the Eastern Plains. Wednesday he attended a groundbreaking ceremony he helped acquire money for at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and Thursday he was on the Western Slope.

"I had a great meeting with Montrose Forest Products to talk about my efforts to support proper forest management and how the @OutdoorsAct will better protect our forests," Gardner tweeted about the time news broke about the recess Thursday afternoon. "I’ll continue working to support CO’s timber industry, which creates jobs and helps sustain healthy forests."

Colorado's senior senator, Democrat Michael Bennet, also did not immediately comment on the recess.

He tweeted about mail ballots and President Trump on Thursday, instead:

"President Trump may be trying to suppress the vote of millions of Americans—but we know better. Learn about voting in your state. Tell your family & neighbors. Order your absentee ballot. Don’t let anything stand in your way. Our democracy depends on it."

House candidate Lauren Boebert, the Rifle restaurant owner who upset incumbent Scott Tipton in the Republican primary, broke against the Senate break Thursday afternoon.

"There is no excuse for this," she tweeted. "This is NOT how government is supposed to work!"

The state Democratic Party also needled the decision and turned it on Gardner.

“It is ‘unfathomable’ that Senator Cory Gardner would go on another vacation after failing to provide relief to Coloradans who are struggling to pay rent, put food on the table, and safely return to school," party spokesperson Eli Rosen said in a press release. "Senator Gardner has shown staying in Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s good graces is more important than Coloradans’ livelihood.”

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