The House of Representatives has dropped plans to return to Washington, D.C., next week due to concerns stemming from the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, according to a top congressional Democrat.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said lawmakers arrived at the decision on the advice of the Capitol physician.
“We made a judgment that we will not come back next week but that we hope to come back very soon,” Hoyer said in a statement.
Leaders of both parties had announced the House and Senate would return May 4. But the congressional physician’s view was there is a “risk” to members, Hoyer said.
Uncertainty in the congressional schedule, along with deepening partisan divide, could stall work on a new the coronavirus relief bill. Hoyer said lawmakers will be asked to return when the legislation is complete.
He noted that negotiations are set to resume Tuesday with Republicans on proxy voting proposals in the House.
The Senate, meanwhile, remains on track to return Monday.
In announcing the Senate’s return, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if it is essential for doctors, nurses and grocery workers “to keep carefully manning their own duty stations, then it is essential for Senators to carefully man ours.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.