Both chambers of Congress will remain on recess later than scheduled, returning no earlier than May 4, lawmakers said April 14.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the upper chamber would add two weeks to its current recess in a Tuesday note to fellow senators, then in a press release. His announcement follows a similar one made by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Monday.
The goal is to continue social distancing and combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the lawmakers said. Congress was originally scheduled to return from recess April 20.
“As the country continues working together to flatten the curve, following the advice of health experts, the full Senate is not expected to travel back to Washington D.C. sooner than Monday, May 4th,” McConnell said in the release. Senators would be given 24 hours’ notice before being required to return for a regular session.
Any pending nominations will now be extended until at least May 4 as a result. Among the positions waiting to be filled is the Secretary of the Navy, for which Kenneth Braithwaite, the U.S. ambassador to Norway, was nominated in February. Jim McPherson is currently serving as acting Navy secretary since Thomas Modly resigned from the position earlier this month (Defense Daily, April 8).
The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have recently told reporters that they plan to try and mark up the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the end of May. (Defense Daily, April 7). However, lawmakers acknowledge that schedules remain fluid and are dependent upon health guidelines issued by federal, state and local government officials.