“The American people, in the end, need help, and wherever this thing settles between the president of the United States and his team that has to sign it into law, and the Democrat not-insignificant minority in the Senate and majority in the House is something I am prepared to support — even if I have some problems with certain parts of it,” Mr. McConnell said.
The halting progress came as Senate Republicans, who have not yet acted on a relief package and have not been a part of the negotiations with Democrats, appeared to be losing patience with the process as the clock ticked down to their scheduled summer recess.
“How do you think it looks for us to be back home when this is unresolved?” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, who is facing re-election, told reporters. “This is the most important thing we need to be doing.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said she had begun to reach out to individual Democrats to see if rank-and-file lawmakers could help facilitate a breakthrough.
“As I look to where we are, I feel the same discouragement, despair — despair that we’re here on the fourth of August,” she said. “We don’t have answers for people right now. So, we’re going to keep working.”
Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, noted that even as the chamber had failed to find a way to act on major legislation like the recovery bill, Mr. McConnell had kept up a steady pace of judicial confirmations.
“We’re going to have to move toward each other to get something done,” Mr. Rubio said.
“At some point,” he added, chuckling, “we run out of judges.”
Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.