Lawmakers may be saying that the coronavirus relief package is a priority for them. However, despite two months of negotiations, they have failed to reach a deal. Now, it is being reported that the Congress could be planning to leave town until after the election without passing another coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks.
Lawmakers may complete work this week?
A report from CNN noted that the Congress could be preparing to leave Capitol Hill as soon as this week until after the election without giving Americans another round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
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On Wednesday, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the number two GOP leader, and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby noted that they are working to conclude the House-passed government funding bill this week.
If everything goes as per the plan, then the lawmakers would be able to leave Washington for most of next month. Moreover, it would also allow members, who are up for reelection to return to their hometown to campaign. If they leave this week, then they could return next week or next month for a vote to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
The work on other important legislation, i.e. on the funding to keep the government running after September, could be completed by Thursday. If the legislation gains unanimous consent by Thursday, then the members could avoid coming back next week to approve the bill.
For now, it is unclear if the funding legislation would be able to get enough support. Some fiscal conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul are not much interested in approving such a bill.
No coronavirus stimulus checks before election?
If the lawmakers go on a break from next week for most of October, then Thune expects the Senate to have pro forma sessions throughout October, according to CNN.
It would allow leaders to call the members back to vote on other important legislation that may come up, such as confirming Trump’s Supreme Court nominee or approving the coronavirus relief package and stimulus checks, if lawmakers agree on a deal.
Members of the Judiciary Committee also expect to travel between states and Washington “as they work to swiftly confirm a new justice,” the report said.
Talking about another coronavirus relief package, it looks very unlikely before the November election. Both sides are unwilling to compromise on the cost of the package. Democrats want a relief package of $2.2 trillion while Republicans, earlier this month, put forward a proposal costing about $600 billion.
Thune blamed Democrats for blocking the relief package. "The Democrats seem to be saying that we would rather have zero than have what we put up," Thune said, referring to the so-called skinny proposal that the Senate introduced earlier this month but was rejected by Democrats.
"At this point we're not seeing cooperation with Democrats on a reasonable or realistic bill," Thune said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, is blaming Republicans for no deal.