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Senate Democrats blocked a trimmed-down GOP coronavirus rescue package on Thursday, saying the measure did not go far enough to address the pandemic.
The mostly party-line vote capped weeks of wrangling over a fifth relief bill and fell well short of what was needed to overcome a filibuster.
The $500 billion measure was stripped back to focus on school aid, jobless benefits and help for small businesses. That maximized Republican support even as it alienated Democrats, who say the GOP bill is far too small.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer predicted that Thursday’s GOP defeat would prompt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell back to the negotiating table.
“But [Thursday’s] bill is not going to happen because it is so emaciated, so filled with poison pills, so partisanly designed,” Schumer said.
McConnell blasted Democrats on Thursday, saying they are still pushing a liberal wish list and are willing to scuttle provisions with widespread support to deny Trump a victory.
“Today every senator will either say they want to send families the relief we can agree to or they can send families nothing,” McConnell said.
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Schumer said Republicans are “out of touch” and predicted the White House “may yet be forced to come back to the table because COVID is the major issue that’s facing the American people.”
The failed Republican measure in Thursday’s vote would:
—provide $105 billion to help schools reopen.
—enact a shield against lawsuits for businesses and others moving ahead to reopen.
—create a scaled-back $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit.
—write off $10 billion in earlier debt at the U.S. Postal Service.
— set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen.
— provide $20 billion for farmers.
— devote $258 billion for a second round of paycheck protection subsidies.
It did not contain a new round of $1,200 direct payments, and the new $300 weekly jobless benefit would expire just after Christmas, on Dec. 27.
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