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McConnell signals senators can head home until negotiators get a coronavirus deal

McConnell signals senators can head home until negotiators get a coronavirus deal
© Greg Nash

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that the Senate will technically be in session next week but signaled he's letting senators leave Washington, D.C., until an agreement is reached on a fifth coronavirus relief package.

"I will not be adjourning the Senate for our August recess today as has been previously scheduled. I've told Republican senators they'll have a 24-hour notice before a vote, but the Senate will be convening on Monday and I'll be right here in Washington," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

The Senate was scheduled to start a four-week August break on Friday, not returning to Washington until early September.

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But the slow pace of the coronavirus negotiations has thrown a curveball into that schedule. The White House and congressional Democrats have been said they want a deal this week, but there are few signs that they will be able to meet a self-imposed Friday deadline.

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE told reporters after his latest meeting on Wednesday with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinOn The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears Mnuchin expected to launch investment fund seeking backing from Persian Gulf region: report Larry Kudlow debuts to big ratings on Fox Business Network MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Budget Committee chair pledges to raise minimum wage: 'Hold me to it' Capitol review to recommend adding more fencing, 1,000 officers: report MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) that they were still "trillions" apart on the price tag for a fifth bill.

McConnell, during an interview with CNBC, declined to say if they could get a deal by the Friday deadline but said he thought there would be one "at some point in the near future"

“Will we find a solution? We will. Will we have an agreement? We will,” Pelosi said during a separate interview with CNBC.

The decision to let senators leave Washington until there's a deal comes after the House left Washington, D.C., last week.

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House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package Key Democrat unveils plan to restore limited earmarks Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission MORE (D-Md.) said at the time that he would call members back with a 24-hour notice once they get an agreement.

"We're not announcing the August work period. We will be ready to act as soon as we can on COVID-19 relief. ... I will call this House back into session ... at the very minute that we have an agreement, that we know we can pass something," Hoyer said.

McConnell, who told reporters on Wednesday that the Senate would "certainly" be in session next week, said on Thursday that he wouldn't formally adjourn the Senate for the August recess unless it becomes clear there is not a deal to be reached.

"The Senate won't adjourn for August until the Democrats demonstrate they will never let an agreement materialize. A lot of Americans' hopes, a lot of American' lives, are riding on the Democrats' endless talk. I hope they're not disappointed," he said.