Durbin: Bringing senators back in two weeks would be 'dangerous and risky'

Durbin: Bringing senators back in two weeks would be 'dangerous and risky'
© Greg Nash

Illinois Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (D) said on Wednesday that it would be an unnecessary risk for the Senate to reconvene on April 20 as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grip the country.

“I don’t want to come back for the deputy secretary of the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whatever it is. That to me is a dangerous and risky effort,” Durbin told Politico, referring to the confirmation vote on Robert Feitel to be inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.) scheduled for April 20.

“At least one of my colleagues, when he returned home, he went to a hotel room and stayed for 14 days separate from his wife and family because he didn’t want to infect them," he continued. "Are we going to repeat that for the deputy undersecretary? I’m sorry. That is unfair."


So far, McConnell hasn't signaled any change to the plan, but Senate Majority Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US death toll nears 100,000 as country grapples with reopening GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R-S.D.) said earlier in the week that the Senate's plans to return on April 20 are fluid.

To Thune's point, the Senate can do said vote and much of its other work by unanimous consent, barring any lawmaker trying to slow proceedings. This process would allow to senators to stay at home in their home states, and will be put to the test on Thursday as McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans will try to pass $250 billion in new aid to small businesses, according to the publication. Any formal vote would force senators to return to Washington.

Meanwhile, Democrats have been vying for increased aid to hospitals and local governments, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.) making it clear that she wants the House to pass a second CARES Act bill by the end of the month. 

The White House's social distancing guidelines are in effect until at least the end of April.