Second Stimulus Check Stalemate: GOP Senate Eyes Early Exit to Hit Campaign Trail

Lawmakers may remain far off from striking a deal on another stimulus relief package, but that isn't stopping some members of the Senate from leaving Capitol Hill early. Although Congress is not scheduled to enter another recess until October, Senate Republican leaders have expressed a desire to allow their colleagues to return home as soon as the end of next week to hit the campaign trail.

Asked if there is a wish among Senate Republican leaders to let vulnerable members return home to campaign ahead of the upcoming election, Senate Majority Whip John Thune said, "I'm sure both sides like to have their members out there," according to The Hill. He added that it would be ideal if members could "get things wrapped up by the end of next week with the Jewish holidays coming the following week." He said doing so would be "a good outcome for everyone, and then we'll take it up again after November." A second GOP senator added that the current plan is for members to "leave next week after the CR and come back after the election," though this plan is "not official."

According to Thune, the current goal among members is to said the goal is to finish work on a stopgap spending measure to fund federal departments and agencies beyond Sept. 30, something "that will involve a high level of cooperation on both sides." After that, however, Thune expressed that there will not be much more for Senate members to do, stating, "I don't know there is going to be a lot more business to be transacted." Senate Republican leaders reportedly hold a similar viewpoint, believing that negotiations between the White House and top Democrats will remain deadlock and will not produce a stimulus relief deal shortly.

Currently, the Senate is scheduled to be out of session Sept. 28 and 29 in observance of Yom Kippur, though members are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday of that week. The chamber is not scheduled for its next official recess until Oct. 9, but no major bills are expected to pass before Election Day, potentially making room for some members to head home. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently announced that the House of Representatives will remain in session until a stimulus relief deal is reached, may have leverage over the Senate's plans, as she could "hit the brakes on a CR and force the upper chamber to adjust its exit plans." At this time, she has not publicly commented on the Senate's intentions.