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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 McConnellMcConnell shoots down Manchin's voting compromise Environmental groups urge congressional leaders to leave climate provisions in infrastructure package Loeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run 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 MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC MORE told reporters after his latest meeting on Wednesday with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiYoung Turks founder on Democratic establishment: 'They lie nonstop' Hillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals 'It's still a BFD': Democrats applaud ruling upholding ObamaCare MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' 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 HoyerBiden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' House passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill House to vote Wednesday on making Juneteenth a federal holiday 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.