The Senate scheduled another two weeks of pro forma sessions Thursday, just a day after President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE demanded senators either return to town or adjourn.
The Senate is now slated to meet roughly every three days until May 4, when senators are expected to return to Washington.
Initially, the Senate had planned on recessing through Friday, with lawmakers returning on Monday. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE (R-Ky.) announced Wednesday that he was extending the recess in consultation with medical professionals and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBuild Back Better Is bad for the states Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-N.Y.).
“As the country continues working together to flatten the curve, following the advice of health experts, the full Senate is not expected to travel back to Washington D.C. sooner than Monday, May 4th. All members will receive at least 24 hours’ notice if this changes," McConnell said in a statement.
His statement didn't mention pro forma sessions, but the Senate had been widely expected to schedule the additional, nonlegislative meetings until lawmakers return to Washington.
Pro forma sessions are constitutionally required to happen every three days unless both parties, in both chambers, can agree to pass an adjournment resolution. The Senate will now meet on April 20, 23, 27 and 30.
Trump railed against the Senate during a White House press conference Wednesday for holding the sessions, which prevent him from making recess appointments.
"The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so I can make recess appointments," Trump said. "We have a tremendous number of people that have to come into government. And now more so than ever before because of the virus and the problem."
Trump then threatened to invoke a never-before used provision in the Constitution that says a president can adjourn Congress in the event of a "disagreement."
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution grants Trump the power to "on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper."
But to take that step and dismiss both chambers, the GOP-controlled Senate would have to adjourn while the Democratic-held House objected.