GOP senator says he will try to block chamber from adjourning for Memorial Day break

GOP senator says he will try to block chamber from adjourning for Memorial Day break
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden seeks to tamp down controversy over remarks about black support MORE (R-Colo.) said on Wednesday that he will object if GOP leadership tries to adjourn the Senate for a weeklong Memorial Day break. 

“This is no time to go home,” Gardner told reporters.

Asked if he was saying he would formally object to the Senate adjourning, he responded, “If they try to make a unanimous consent, you bet. We have work to do.”

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To head out of town, the Senate will need to establish pro forma sessions — brief, constitutionally mandated meetings that block recess appointments — and then adjourn.

McConnell normally does both of those things by unanimous consent, meaning Gardner could, if he wanted to, try to block him. That could prompt a vote to try to override Gardner. 

Gardner’s pledge to block the Senate from adjourning comes after he sent a string of tweets earlier Wednesday saying lawmakers shouldn’t leave for the weeklong break without passing additional coronavirus legislation. 

"It’s unfathomable that the Senate is set to go on recess without considering any additional #COVID19 assistance for the American people. Anyone who thinks now is the time to go on recess hasn’t been listening. Coloradans and Americans alike have sacrificed and are hurting," Gardner tweeted. 

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Gardner, who is facing a tough reelection bid in November in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE lost in 2016, pointed to myriad outstanding issues the Senate needs to address, including modifying the Paycheck Protection Program, passing a stimulus bill to tackle unemployment and help states reopen, and addressing coronavirus cases within nursing homes. 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill The other dangerous virus infecting our country The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (R-Maine), who like Gardner is up for reelection in a state won by 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE, said she also believes the Senate should forgo the Memorial Day recess. 

"I agree with that. That’s my only comment," she said. 

Asked about Gardner's pledge to block an adjournment, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K Senate leaves for break without passing Paycheck Protection Program fix MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, replied, "Well, that would be interesting." 

"[I] just haven't thought about how we'll handle that if that happens," Thune added. 

Republicans appear nowhere near ready to pass another stimulus bill as they remain torn over what should be included and when it should be taken up. The House passed its own nearly $3 trillion bill last week, but it has been declared "dead on arrival" in the GOP-controlled Senate.  

While Gardner and some other senators have called for Congress to move quickly to pass COVID-19-related legislation, GOP leadership says it is still reviewing how the approximately $2.8 trillion already appropriated by Congress has been implemented. 

"There are members on both sides who want to see us do more. ... All those ideas are being collected, and at some point my guess is we'll have an opportunity to put them into a package," Thune said. 

"I don't think they're quite ripe yet. So doing this this week, I just don't see how that comes together," Thune said, adding that there wasn't a "consensus" within the GOP conference yet. 

Trump was asked during a Senate lunch Tuesday if he had a timeline for when he wanted the next bill but did not give a specific date, according to senators. 

"I have indicated that we still believe with regard to the coronavirus we need to assess what we have already done, take a look at what worked and what didn't, and we will discuss the way forward in the next couple of weeks," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPence: Next coronavirus relief bill would need legal shield for businesses GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions MORE (R-Ky.) after the closed-door lunch.