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House won't take votes Labor Day week, citing COVID-19 concerns

Chris Cioffi and Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- The House will only hold committee work during the week of Labor Day in an attempt to minimize the number of people in the Capitol complex, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer announced Monday.

"The September schedule will follow the same format as June and July, so that we can conduct our necessary work while protecting public health," Hoyer said in a release.

The announcement was made in a newly updated House calendar for the remainder of 2020 -- it is the only change in the calendar. That means there will be no House votes until Sept. 14, unless there is a coronavirus relief deal between now and then that merits calling the chamber back into session in the interim.

Hoyer's announcement comes after the breakdown of talks last week on Capitol Hill between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and White House negotiators led by chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a series of executive actions intended to extend and expand COVID-19 relief, although members of Congress have said they're not a substitute for legislation passed by Congress.

The Senate's August recess was scheduled to get underway Friday and last until after Labor Day in early September. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made comments last week suggesting the Senate will technically be in session this week, but there will be no votes and only a minimum number of members and staff will be around.

In the remaining three weeks of September, the House will take votes on a "range of important issues, including ensuring the government is funded before the end of the month," Hoyer said.

 

The House advanced appropriations bills for most government agencies last month, and Hoyer pointed out that the Senate has not yet advanced any, previewing the next big showdown right before this year's elections: appropriations.

"We cannot risk a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis," Hoyer said. "I hope Republicans will join us and act quickly to provide certainty that they will not shut the government down again."

(Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.)

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