The entire nation is in a state of panic, yet the Senate was scheduled to go on a recess next week.
Realizing that lawmakers need to stay in session to deal with any necessary emergency legislation, The Hill reported on Thursday that Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has officially canceled that scheduled break.
Notwithstanding the scheduled state work period, the Senate will be in session next week. I am glad talks are ongoing between the Administration and Speaker Pelosi. I hope Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to continue combating the coronavirus and keep our economy strong.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 12, 2020
Stay at work
McConnell is not, however, keeping senators in D.C. over the weekend due to delays in bringing the House coronavirus relief bill to the floor.
The House initially proposed a legislative package, and though Democrats attempted to load it up with partisan amendments, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced late Friday that an agreement had been reached with the White House.
Considering that the aforementioned agreement did not appear forthcoming until very late in the game, McConnell saw no need to hold the senators in town and allowed them to take their normal three-day weekend.
This, of course, caused outrage on the left, with Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) immediately calling McConnell out for the move earlier on Friday.
Schumer stated, “The Speaker is still negotiating with [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin. The House hasn’t even sent a bill over and Leader McConnell sends everybody home during a crisis. That is so wrong.”
Calming things down
The move to keep the Senate in session by McConnell was not only meant to make the lawmakers available to respond to an ever-changing situation but also to send a strong message to the markets.
Coronavirus panic crashed the marked over the last several days, but after news broke that the Senate recess had been cancelled, the markets started to rebound.
As of 3:38 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon, the market was up 881.93 points, or 4.16% on the day. This was obviously not a full recovery from the massive hit the market took, but an uptick on a Friday afternoon is always a good sign.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) expressed that very thought, stating, “I think that there will be…some things that the administration will do on their own. But the fact that the Senate is going to be [in session] next week and not go into recess I think, I would suspect some calm and reassurance.”
This was surely also impacted by the fact President Trump on Friday afternoon declared a national state of emergency, something which will unblock funding to help local, state, and federal authorities to address the coronavirus emergency.