U.S. Senate to reconvene May 4, House cancels plans to return to session

House Majority leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) canceled previously announced plans for the House to return to session on May 4. Hoyer said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) changed the chamber’s plans after consultation with the House physician.

The U.S. Senate will reconvene as scheduled on May 4. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed the Senate’s return, saying “We’re going to take whatever safeguards the Capitol physician recommends that we engage in and we believe we can do that safely.”

Both chambers of Congress took an extended recess due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the House adjourning in-person proceedings after March 13 and the Senate after March 26. According to Roll Call, House members returned to the Capitol twice during recess, once on March 27 and again on April 23, to vote on emergency legislation related to the pandemic.

Hoyer and Pelosi had said that the House planned to take social distancing measures when returning to the Capitol and would possibly allow proxy voting. McConnell has not permitted remote voting in the Senate.

The House no longer has a definite return date. Hoyer said they will return to session to vote on the next piece of legislation regarding the pandemic. Both chambers are scheduled to adjourn for the Memorial Day recess on May 21 and 22. At the time of the congressional leaders’ announcement, Washington, D.C., was under a stay-at-home order effective through May 15.

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Sarah Doyel

Sarah Doyel is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at sarah.doyel@ballotpedia.org.

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