GOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal

GOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans said on Tuesday that they expect to be in session next week as negotiations on a fifth coronavirus bill appear to be at an "impasse."

The tentative plan, described by GOP senators leaving a closed-door lunch, means the Senate will be in Washington, D.C., for at least the first week of a previously scheduled four-week break that had been expected to start on Friday.

"We have been told we would likely be back next week, unless we somehow finish this week," said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSCOTUS confirmation in the last month of a close election? Ugly Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership.

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Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses On The Trail: Making sense of this week's polling tsunami MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments MORE (R-Ky.), told reporters that "we'll be in session next week, if we don't get a resolution this week."

The House left town last week. House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential' MORE (D-Md.) has said he will call House members back to Washington with a 24-hour heads-up once there is an agreement ready for a vote.

The negotiations are between Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential' MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House chief of staff knocks FBI director over testimony on election fraud Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid Pelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' MORE, leaving most lawmakers to get updates from reporters and leadership.

Asked why the Senate would stay in town if most aren't directly involved in the talks, Cornyn added, "How do you think it looks for us to be back home when this is unresolved? This is the most important thing we need to be doing."

McConnell hasn't announced a change to the Senate's schedule. Asked about being in session next week, a spokesman for the GOP leader said, "the Leader will let everyone know when we have an update and / or guidance."

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Negotiators say they are making progress in the most recent talks on Saturday and Monday but they still remain far apart on significant sticking points like unemployment insurance, state and local aid and McConnell's red line of liability protections for businesses.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline Senate GOP eyes early exit MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told reporters after a closed-door lunch with Mnuchin and Meadows that the talks are at an "impasse."

"Nothing’s happened," he added.