Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were set to reconvene on May 4th, but now only the Senate will be meeting. After an outcry from representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer decided against returning to Washington D. C., saying it is too dangerous.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that: “Senators will return to Washington D.C. one week from today. We will modify routines in ways that are smart and safe, but we will honor our constitutional duty to the American people and conduct critical business in person.
Senator John Cornyn explained the reasoning for the return to work: “This idea we were going to hunker down and shelter in place for an indefinite period of time, it’s just inconsistent with the reality of us needing to do our job.”
Washington D.C. and surrounding areas have thousands of cases of the coronavirus. According to Live Science: “As of April 30, Washington, D.C. reported 4,658 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 231 deaths associated with it, according to public health authorities in D.C. This makes it 34th in the list of states for the most US coronavirus cases.”
McConnell reassured the returning senators and their staffs that safety measures will be observed upon their return to Washington, saying: “We’re going to take whatever safeguards the Capitol physician recommends that we engage in and we believe we can do that safely.”
President Trump offered to provide rapid COVID-19 testing to the Senate and the House, but both McConnell and Pelosi declined.
There is tremendous CoronaVirus testing capacity in Washington for the Senators returning to Capital Hill on Monday. Likewise the House, which should return but isn’t because of Crazy Nancy P. The 5 minute Abbott Test will be used. Please inform Dr. Brian P. Monahan. @MarkMeadows
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2020
In a joint statement, McConnell and Pelosi said: “Congress is grateful for the Administration’s generous offer to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time,”
House Democrats reverse decision to return
Pelosi and Hoyer had announced the reconvening of the House which has been on recess since March 14th, but met an outcry from members worried about the dangers of the virus. Citing safety concerns, they then reversed their position to delay their return.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) decried the move as “dangerous.” Others said returning would violate the D.C. stay-at-home order which won’t be lifted until May 15th.
As far as when the House will reconvene, Hoyer said, “very soon.”
President Trump has been working all along
President Trump has a theory about why House Democrats don’t want to return. “They are enjoying their vacation.”
President Trump has a reason to mock the House and their excuses for not getting back to work. He has stayed in Washington the entire time Congress has been on recess, working with the White House Coronavirus Task Force to manage the national crisis.