For millions of Americans who were worried because the July 31st deadline to pass a new relief bill, before the House left for the August recess, wasn’t going to be possible, good news has arrived.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on Friday that the House is canceling its traditional August recess, as congressional negotiations over the next coronavirus relief legislation have reached an impasse.
Even though House Democrats proposed and passed a $3 trillion relief package in May, the bill is not being debated by the Senate. Only the Republican proposal is being discussed, so any agreement reached this week by the Senate and the White House would still need to pass by the House.
Members of Congress traditionally take the month of August to return to their districts and conduct business there.
"We will not start the August district work period until we pass appropriate COVID-19 relief to meet the current health and economic crisis confronting our people and our country," Hoyer continued.
It's unclear whether the Senate will continue working through August as well.
In late-night negotiations with congressional Democrats on Thursday, White House officials offered a short-term extension of the popular $600 unemployment benefit, but Pelosi and Schumer rejected the offer, arguing that Republicans don't understand that the situation requires a bigger solution.
This unemployment benefit is one of the matters Democrats had repeatedly said they considered a dealbreaker.
The measure has ended on July 31st and this will affect as many as 32 million people who are currently relying on the $600 weekly payment.
Even though it could take some weeks after an agreement is reached for Americans to receive the unemployment benefit again, the fact that the deadline has been postponed at least a week means that it may not be necessary to wait till September for a new bill to be passed.