Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter on Tuesday calling on her to establish a plan to open Congress as the session enters its fourth week of suspension due to the coronavirus.

The state of play: Both the House and Senate previously said lawmakers would not travel back to D.C. any sooner than May 4. McCarthy's letter also comes as protests are unfolding across the country for states to reopen and lift shelter-at-home orders.

  • House Rules Committee Chair Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) put forward a plan for "proxy voting" last week that would allow House members who can't make it to the Capitol to direct another member to vote on their behalf.
  • McCarthy urged Pelosi to explain when members would be able to provide input on McGovern's plan and how it would "avoid potential abuses of power."

What he's saying:

"In my view, conducting the business of the People's House is the definition of 'essential work.' ... It is imperative we outline a pathway forward that ensures transparency and regular order for all members — not centralized decision-making by a select group of leadership and staff that reduces the role of representative to merely voting 'yea' or 'nay' on pre-drafted proposals."

Read the letter.

Go deeper: Senate, House will not travel back to D.C. before May

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GOP Sen. Sasse slams Mnuchin and Pelosi as "big government Democrats"

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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) sharply criticized stimulus negotiations between House Democrats and the Trump administration on Tuesday, dismissing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as "two big government Democrats."

Why it matters: Sasse is one of a number of Senate Republicans who have expressed frustration with key provisions in the White House-backed bill released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday — underscoring how far Congress is from striking a deal on a coronavirus relief package.

Meadows: White House and Democrats are "nowhere close to a deal" on stimulus

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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters after meeting with Democratic leaders on Wednesday that the two sides are "nowhere close to a deal" on a coronavirus stimulus bill, acknowledging that extra unemployment benefits will expire on Friday.

Why it matters: More than 32 million Americans are currently receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to the most recent Labor Department data. Democrats had hoped to extend the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit passed in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, but the Senate GOP remains extremely divided.

Pelosi defends likening federal agents to stormtroopers after Barr testimony

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a news conference in Washington, D.C. Photo: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told MSNBC Tuesday night that Attorney General Bill Barr was "despicable" and acted like a "henchman" for President Trump during testimony on Capitol Hill earlier in the day.

The big picture: Barr testified that it was "irresponsible" of Pelosi to have likened federal law enforcement to "stormtroopers," after they were deployed to Portland, Oregon, during unrest at anti-racism protests. He said it's "possible" her remarks could endanger the officers. But Pelosi told MSNBC, "Do some other people come along and try to disrupt? Yes. But you don’t send in people acting like stormtroopers into the scene and evoking even more, even more unease and unrest."

Go deeper: Barr's time in the barrel