Second Stimulus Check: McConnell Hints Senators Can Head Home Until Agreement Is Reached on Relief Package

Democrats and Republicans may remain far off from striking a deal on the next stimulus relief package, but that isn't stopping the Senate from adjourning. As negotiators on both sides of the aisle came out of a three-hour meeting Thursday signaling that an agreement was nowhere in sight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that senators could head home, though they will not officially be starting their previously scheduled August recess, which is set to last from Friday, Aug. 7 until Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Speaking from the Senate floor, McConnell said that senators are allowed to leave Capitol Hill for a three-day weekend, though he would "not be adjourning the Senate for our August recess today as has been previously scheduled." Instead, according to The Hill, the current session will continue "unless and until the Democrats demonstrate they will never let an agreement materialize." McConnell added that he had "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's decision not to adjourn the Senate comes after he had faced fierce backlash last week after adjourning the chamber for a three-day weekend as negotiations continued. After they reconvened Monday, however, a number of Republicans had begun calling for McConnell to keep the chamber in session until a deal is reached, with Sen. John Cornyn stating that it would "look like a dereliction of duty" for the Senate to go home without a deal. By Wednesday, McConnell seemed to accept the idea, telling CNN that senators will "certainly be in next week" and that "we'll see what happens after that."

The House of Representatives, meanwhile, has been on recess since last Friday. As representatives left Washington, D.C., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that he would call members back with a 24-hour notice when and if an agreement is reached. He explained that "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."

At this point, however, it remains unclear just when a deal could be reached. Although negotiations have been ongoing for nearly two weeks, any progress that had been made has seemingly led to nowhere, as reports following a Thursday meeting suggested that discussions were on the brink of collapse.