The Senate failed to push a Republican coronavirus stimulus plan on Thursday. This was the latest blow to efforts to pass another package to mitigate the harm from the pandemic.
The measure missed the 60 votes that were required for a procedural step to get in the direction of the passage. All the Democrats in attendance and one Republican in Rand Paul of Kentucky were against by 52-47 votes. The almost unanimous vote for the GOP followed weeks of disagreement within the Republican caucus over whether further aid should be given at all.
The legislation would have reintroduced improved federal unemployment insurance at a rate of $ 300 per week, half of the $ 600 weekly payment that expired in late July. It would have approved new loans for small businesses and used money for schools and for post-Covid-1
The measure did not include a second direct payment of $ 1,200 to individuals. There was also a lack of new relief for financially struggling state and local governments, or money for rent, mortgage and food aid – all of which are priorities for Democrats.
“It’s more than inadequate. It’s totally inadequate,” said Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Minority, DN.Y., of the GOP plan early Thursday.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R heads for the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, United States on September 8, 2020.
Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Brought the measure to the Senate this week as efforts by the Trump administration and Democratic leaders to reach a bipartisan aid agreement stalled. Not only did he want to show that Republicans and high-risk GOP senators running for re-election this year are taking action to fight the pandemic, but also putting pressure on the Democrats ahead of Election Day.
“You can tell American families that politics are more important to them than helping them,” McConnell said of Democratic senators who speak out against the bill.
Congress failed to pass a fifth coronavirus aid package despite the outbreak infecting tens of thousands of Americans a day and increasing the economic pain of millions of unemployed. The lifelines, including unemployment benefits, a federal eviction moratorium, and the time window to apply for the small business loan protection program, have all expired.
While President Donald Trump has taken unilateral steps to extend temporary unemployment benefits to some Americans and limit evictions for a few months, only Congress can grant sweeping relief as it controls federal spending.
Doubts about the legislature’s ability to approve further incentives in the hot final weeks leading up to the 2020 elections have grown. Still, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she was confident that Congress could pass another bill before election day.
When asked if another bailout bill would come up, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin replied on Wednesday: “I don’t know.”
“We will see. I hope that there is. It is important for a lot of people out there,” said the top negotiator of the Trump administration in the relief talks.
When Republicans tried to hold onto their 53-47 Senate majority in November, every GOP in office that year backed the rescue package. The most vulnerable Senate Democrat, Doug Jones from Alabama, opposed it.
Gary Peters from Michigan, Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire and Tina Smith from Minnesota, who will all be competing against voters this year in states where the 2016 elections ended.
Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.