U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Republican-led Senate will vote “as soon as this week” on COVID-19 relief legislation after negotiations with Democrats broke off last month. “It does not contain every idea our party likes. I am confident Democrats will feel the same. Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation,” McConnell said in a statement.  The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a shortened pre-election session as hopes continue to diminish for passage of another relief bill to cope with the economic decline brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. After bipartisan unity led to the approval of a nearly $3 billion COVID-19 rescue package in the spring, the two sides have not been able to reach another agreement.  The House of Representatives doesn’t return to work until September 14. FILE – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Aug. 27, 2020.White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said earlier Tuesday he was optimistic another measure would be passed before the November 3 presidential election but gave no indication of progress in talks with congressional Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted Sunday that “McConnell may have declared a ‘pause’ to America’s coronavirus response, but it is clear the virus never did the same.” The U.S. leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with nearly 190,000. The U.S. is also home to a world-leading 6.3 million coronavirus infections, nearly one-quarter of the more than 27.3 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

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