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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 GardnerMark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities 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 TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds 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 CollinsMark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Biden brushes off criticism of budget nominee Scammers step up efforts to target older Americans during pandemic MORE (R-Maine), who like Gardner is up for reelection in a state won by 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton offers congratulations over Elliot Page announcement Biden brushes off criticism of budget nominee Mellman: Mired in Partisanship 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 ThuneDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill Overnight Defense: Defense bill moving forward despite Trump veto threat over tech fight | Government funding bill hits snag | Top general talks Afghanistan, Pentagon budget Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms 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 McConnellHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (R-Ky.) after the closed-door lunch.