Neither is optimal, so Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is talking to Gardner about how to move forward to avoid such a battle on the floor.
“Hopefully it won’t be necessary. I’m hoping the leader and Sen. Gardner are able to figure something out that would enable him to get things he wants discussed and considered,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.).
He said even if the Senate stayed in it’s unlikely the chamber would be able to pass a coronavirus relief bill during next week’s scheduled recess: “We could stay in next week and we could continue to do nominations. But I don’t think there’s a consensus yet on a path forward.”
The Senate has been in session for several weeks but has focused on nominations. However, several committees have held hearings on the coronavirus.
The House last week passed a $3 trillion relief measure but without input from the GOP or White House.
Still the Senate may make some incremental progress that could satisfy disgruntled Republicans. Congressional leaders are trying to unanimously pass legislation Thursday that would give small businesses more time to pay loans under the Paycheck Protection Program than the current eight-week period.
Changing the Paycheck Protection Program is among Gardner’s asks, but he also wants Congress to make more sweeping changes to prevent layoffs and create jobs. As he put it Wednesday: “We need to get the job done.”