Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday the chamber will be back in session Monday and he would not gavel out for the traditional summer recess.
The Kentucky Republican blamed Democrats for failing after two weeks of talks to negotiate a deal on a coronavirus aid package that both parties deem critical for helping the nation cope with the continued outbreak.
“A second straight week of political theater from our Democratic colleagues with no result except more pain for families, more uncertainty for workers, and more evidence to suggest that perhaps Democratic leaders were never serious about getting something accomplished in the first place,” McConnell said Thursday morning in a Senate floor speech.
Democrats and White House officials have been meeting privately nearly every day for two weeks but have not been able to agree on a compromise between the $1 trillion GOP-authored proposal and the $3.4 trillion package Democrats are now seeking.
The Democrat-controlled House is not in session, but lawmakers could be called back to the Capitol to vote on a package if an agreement is reached.
McConnell said he’s not leaving town.
“The Senate will be convening on Monday, and I’ll be right here in Washington,” McConnell said. “The House has already skipped town, but the Senate won’t adjourn for August unless and until the Democrats demonstrate they will never let an agreement materialize.”
Democrats have yielded little in the talks, offering only to lower their $25 billion demand to bail out the United States Postal Service to $10 billion.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the two sides remain “trillions” of dollars apart.
McConnell’s recess announcement follows a warning by Trump officials that the president will take executive action to provide coronavirus aid if significant movement isn’t made on a bipartisan deal by Friday.
“I think we need to see some real compromise on some of the big issues,” Mnuchin said Wednesday. “And if we can reach a compromise on these big issues, I think everything else will fall into place. If we can’t reach an agreement on these mitigations, then I don’t see us coming to an overall deal. And then, we’ll have to look at the president taking actions under his executive authority.”
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