House cancels August recess until coronavirus bill is passed

The House is canceling its traditional August recess, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on Friday, as congressional negotiations over the next coronavirus relief legislation have reached an impasse. Hoyer said that the House would remain in session until a deal on a bill is reached.

“It is expected that the House will meet during the month of August,” Hoyer said in a speech on the House floor. “I have told my members, and I have told the minority leader and whip that no one should schedule themselves for next week or until such time as we adopt COVID-19 legislation.”

Members of Congress traditionally take the month of August to return to their districts and conduct business there. “We will not start the August district work period until we pass appropriate COVID-19 relief to meet the current health and economic crisis confronting our people and our country,” Hoyer continued.

It’s unclear whether the Senate will continue working through August as well.

House Democrats proposed and passed a $3 trillion relief package in May, and Senate Republicans offered their own $1 trillion proposal on Monday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are opposed to passing relief legislation in a “piecemeal” fashion and are calling for a single comprehensive bill.

In late-night negotiations with congressional Democrats on Thursday, White House officials offered a short-term extension of the popular unemployment benefit paying out-of-work Americans $600 per week, a CARES Act provision that formally expires Friday. But Pelosi and Schumer rejected the offer, arguing that Republicans don’t understand that the situation requires a solution that is larger in scope.

Kimberley Brown contributed to this report.