Senate Democrats voted against a GOP-favored coronavirus relief bill Thursday afternoon, preventing it from reaching the 60-vote threshold necessary for it to pass.
According to Roll Call, the proposal, which received support from every GOP senator except Rand Paul (R-KY), would have provided $650 billion for the paycheck protection program, K-12 education, and drug and vaccine distribution and development, among a variety of other initiatives.
Approximately $350 billion of this funding would have been reallocated from previous coronavirus legislation, which would have limited the amount of new federal spending. Senate Democrats, however, have accused GOP lawmakers of thinking too small.
“We’re trying to get a bill that deals with the issues here. McConnell has become more and more cynical,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told MSNBC Thursday morning. “His bill is a cynical bill. It’s cynical in what it’s left out.”
“As the crisis gets bigger and bigger, Republicans think smaller and smaller. They’re moving backwards. This isn’t a ‘skinny’ bill. It’s emaciated,” said Schumer.
In a statement after the GOP-favored bill was voted down, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to Twitter to blast Democrats for failing to help people out of concern for their own election prospects.
“Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election,” said the majority leader on Twitter.
Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 10, 2020
According to The Wall Street Journal, the voted-down proposal varied from an initial Republican $1 trillion proposal—which Democrats were also against—on several fronts, including a removal of the individual $1,200 stimulus checks. Even the old proposal, however, didn’t have the support of most every Republican senator.
“The reason why we are at this specific package is because this is what we could find consensus after literally weeks of discussion and research,” said Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), reports the WSJ of the proposal Democrats voted against on Thursday. “And so it’s doing the best we can do at this point with the information we have.”
Democrats have long been adamant about Republicans needing to increase the amount of money that they would be willing to spend on coronavirus legislation, having themselves passed a $3.4 trillion stimulus bill in the House back in May. This bill, for example, would have extended the boosted coronavirus unemployment insurance benefits by $600 per week until January of 2021.
During the summer, Democratic leadership and White House negotiators were ultimately unable to reach a deal to bridge their two proposals, and left for August recess without a plan in motion.
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