Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) will go home to Alabama—just not any sooner than he has to.
The freshman senator, who Alabama voters rejected in a recent Republican primary battle with Roy Moore, signed up for duty to oversee “pro forma” sessions in a mostly deserted Senate chamber during lawmakers’ 10-day Thanksgiving recess instead of going back to his home state.
Rather than be in Bama amid the controversies surrounding Moore, Strange agreed to help out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and don suit and tie and report to the Senate on three separate days during the break to simply sit in a chair overlooking the empty desks of his colleagues.
The brief sessions—which last for only about a minute—ensure that President Donald Trump can’t make recess appointments of his nominees while the Senate is out of town.
Strange, who was tapped to fill the seat when former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) became Trump’s attorney general, said he’s content to stay for now in Washington, where there are fewer questions about his next moves as well as the alleged contact Moore had with underage girls years ago.
With both senators and reporters mostly absent from the Capitol during the break, his contact was mostly limited to the Senate doorkeepers, who also had to report for pro forma duty.
Strange did tell a few reporters still on hand that he has no plans to resign his seat in order for Sessions to now run as a write-in candidate. He said he will be on hand until the Senate wraps up its work—whether that’s in December or early next year. He says adjournment is “kind of up in the air.”
“I’m hoping I’ll be here as long as it takes to get the tax bill passed. That’s my hope,” Strange said. “It’s such a fluid situation right now, I can’t say.”
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