WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress is out of session for the rest of the week, leaving any progress on another coronavirus relief deal on pause. The focus now is on what could happen when they return and how soon Americans could get some extra help from the federal government.
When asked what he expects to happen when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) had a blunt response.
“I have no idea,” Rep. Clyburn said.
Clyburn blames Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for not passing anything before Thanksgiving.
“But to leave town without sending us anything and without acting on anything – it’s just irresponsible,” Clyburn said.
“We’ve been sitting at the table for 6 months plus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Friday as she urged McConnell to come back to the negotiating table.
Pelosi later discussed the dilemma with President-elect Joe Biden, who she hopes will help get something done. But that help wouldn’t come until 2021.
When it returns next week, Congress will have just 10 working days before this session ends and a new Congress is sworn in.
Republican Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said he’s working this week with GOP lawmakers to reach an agreement on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown Dec. 11. Blunt couldn’t say whether a COVID relief bill might be included but said keeping Americans waiting for relief is a huge failure of Congress.
“Both sides are saying we ought to do the bill this year but both sides are saying we wanna do only the bill that we wanna do,” Blunt said.
“All I know is there are people hurting and we are not doing right by them,” Clyburn added.
Clyburn said his main priority is getting a deal done by the end of the year.