The Senate is officially on break for the remainder of August, despite failing to reach a coronavirus relief deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the decision Thursday, amid stalled negotiations over the next stimulus package. The Senate is expected to return on Sept. 8; however, there's a slim chance the Senate can be recalled if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer manage to resume negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
"We will have our regular pro forma meetings through the end of the state work period," McConnell said Thursday, according to the Hill. "If the Speaker of the House and the minority leader of the Senate decide to finally let another package move forward … it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than schedule."
The Senate was supposed to adjourn for a summer recess last Friday, but McConnell extended the August legislative session to this Thursday in the hopes of finalizing the next stimulus bill.
Congressional leaders have spent the last several weeks debating on what the relief package would include and how much money would go into it. Democrats have pushed for a $2 trillion to $3 trillion relief package, while Republicans want no more than $1 trillion of federal spending. The parties also disagree on how to continue federal unemployment benefits, funding for states, and liability protections.
Pelosi told reporters Thursday she was unclear when negotiations would resume: "I don't know. When they [Republicans] come in with $2 trillion," she said. "We can't wait until Sept. 30. People will die."
As lawmakers return home from D.C., countless Americans continue to struggle financially amid the pandemic. Unemployment benefits under the previous stimulus package have expired and it's been months since the first round of stimulus checks were sent out. Many slammed the Senate for abandoning the sessions, as the unemployment rate remains over 10 percent and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow.
You can read some of the reactions below.