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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 McConnellBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Trump blasts Obama speech for Biden as 'fake' after Obama hits Trump's tax payments White House hoping for COVID-19 relief deal 'within weeks': spokeswoman 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 Randall MeadowsWhite House science office says Trump ended COVID-19 pandemic as US hits record cases Obama rips Trump's pandemic response: 'He's jealous of COVID's media coverage' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE told reporters after his latest meeting on Wednesday with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election White House hoping for COVID-19 relief deal 'within weeks': spokeswoman MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Hoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top CNN won't run pro-Trump ad warning Biden will raise taxes on middle class MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' 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 HoyerHoyer lays out ambitious Democratic agenda for 2021, with health care at top Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief 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.