The United States Senate has a two-week recess scheduled from Friday, July 3 to July 17, although some believe the lawmakers will shorten that vacation at the last minute. The Senate scheduled this break on their calendar to allow members to celebrate Independence Day at home, and then take two weeks to do work in the states they represent. However, with the coronavirus pandemic raging on, some feel they could do more good in Washington, D.C.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly said that he expects to tackle the issue of another stimulus check in "July." According to a report by Newsweek, however, the Senate's main priority between now and July 3 is police reform — looking for a solution to police violence and systemic racism at the federal level. This update could mean that the stimulus check will stay on the back burner until the middle of the month, although some — such as Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford — are hopeful that it will not.
Lankford told Newsweek, "it's possible" that the Senate will shorten its two-week holiday. "It's obviously been done before," he added. Back in April, the Senate canceled a scheduled recess to work on other timely coronavirus issues, and many believe that they will do so again.
If so, however, they have made no indication yet. The Senate's public calendars online all still show a two-week recess starting this weekend, followed by an even longer one in August. Meanwhile, senators continue to focus their energy on police reform in all their public comments.
Some critics of the senate say that even if they cancel their recess and pass a stimulus package now, it will still be too late. The U.S. Congress rushed to pass a second stimulus bill back in mid-May — the HEROES Act — and it has been waiting for approval by the Senate ever since. At the time, McConnell called the bill "dead on arrival," but millions of unemployed Americans are still hopeful that he will pass something.
The HEROES Act would provide a stimulus check worth up to $1,200, much like the last round, though the criteria would be loosened to include adult dependents, immigrants and other groups. The bill contains plenty of other material as well, some of which Republicans are vehemently opposed to.
"If there is something that's going to happen, it will emerge in the Senate, it will be written beginning in my office, and it will be done in July," McConnell said last month.