Senate Republicans said on Tuesday that they expect to be in session next week as negotiations on a fifth coronavirus bill appear to be at an “impasse.”
The tentative plan, described by GOP senators leaving a closed-door lunch, means the Senate will be in Washington, D.C., for at least the first week of a previously scheduled four-week break that had been expected to start on Friday.
“We have been told we would likely be back next week, unless we somehow finish this week,” said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Pelosi to require masks on House floor MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE (R-Ky.), told reporters that “we’ll be in session next week, if we don’t get a resolution this week.”
The House left town last week. House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Fauci gives his COVID-19 vaccine estimate Congress rightfully rejects dangerous effort to cut defense budget by 10 percent MORE (D-Md.) has said he will call House members back to Washington with a 24-hour heads-up once there is an agreement ready for a vote.
The negotiations are between Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMeadows: ‘I’m not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term’ on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he’s considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread MORE (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House MORE, leaving most lawmakers to get updates from reporters and leadership.
Asked why the Senate would stay in town if most aren’t directly involved in the talks, Cornyn added, “How do you think it looks for us to be back home when this is unresolved? This is the most important thing we need to be doing.”
McConnell hasn’t announced a change to the Senate’s schedule. Asked about being in session next week, a spokesman for the GOP leader said, “the Leader will let everyone know when we have an update and / or guidance.”
Negotiators say they are making progress in the most recent talks on Saturday and Monday but they still remain far apart on significant sticking points like unemployment insurance, state and local aid and McConnell’s red line of liability protections for businesses.
Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby33K laptops meant for Alabama distance learning are stuck in customs, could be held until October Senate GOP opens door to smaller coronavirus deal as talks lag Overnight Defense: Senate GOP coronavirus bill includes .4B for Pentagon | US, Australia focus on China in key meeting MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told reporters after a closed-door lunch with Mnuchin and Meadows that the talks are at an “impasse.”
“Nothing’s happened,” he added.