McConnell under pressure to cancel recess over coronavirus

Greg Nash

A number of Republicans are urging congressional leadership to cancel the upcoming one-week recess so lawmakers can stay in Washington, D.C., and work to address the coronavirus outbreak.

Three GOP senators, in separate statements, called on Congress to stay in town to put together a package amid growing concerns about the widespread outbreak that has roiled the economy. 

“Due to the need to work on additional efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate should cancel its recess and remain in session next week,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted. 

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) added that “Congress needs to cancel its recess and stay in session so we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to address the coronavirus pandemic.”


Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) issued a similar call.

“The Senate ought to keep working on the people’s business — both addressing the obvious deficiencies in our diagnostic testing pipeline, and debating the President’s call last night for economic legislation. The Senate has work to do, let’s get to it,” he said in a statement.

The calls for McConnell to cancel the break comes as senators are preparing to leave Washington as soon as Thursday for a one-week break. 

The House is poised to vote on a new coronavirus package on Thursday. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over potential changes to the language. 

McConnell has largely deferred the negotiations with Democrats to Mnuchin, signaling he could support something if the White House is on board. 

But he panned the House bill as originally drafted, suggesting that it could not pass the Senate. 

“Unfortunately, it appears at this hour that the Speaker and House Democrats instead chose to produce an ideological wish list that was not tailored closely to the circumstances,” McConnell said. 

The calls to cancel the recess comes amid growing anxiety about the coronavirus within the Capitol.

New restrictions are set to go into effect later Thursday that will limit public access to the building. 

Tags Ben Sasse Coronavirus Nancy Pelosi Susan Collins Thom Tillis

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