Senate Dems Block Coronavirus Relief Bill

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Senate Republicans on Thursday failed to advance their $500 billion coronavirus relief bill as the legislation failed to clear a procedural hurdle, leaving negotiations on a fifth coronavirus relief package stalled.

In a 52-to-47 procedural vote, the bill failed to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster by Democrats.

Senator Rand Paul was the only Republican who voted against the measure. No Democrats voted for the bill.

The bill included school aid, expanded unemployment benefits of $300 more per week, and authorized new loans for small businesses. Democrats opposed the bill because it did not include state and local government relief, food aid, or rental and mortgage assistance. The bill also did not include a second $1,200 direct payment to individual Americans.

“This emaciated bill is only intended to help vulnerable Republican Senators by giving them a ‘check-the-box’ vote to maintain the appearance that they’re not held hostage by their extreme right-wing that doesn’t want to spend a nickel to help people,” read a joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Democrats want to work on bipartisan legislation that will meet the urgent needs of the American people but Republicans continue to move in the wrong direction.”

McConnell remarked in a floor speech just before the vote that, “working families have suffered and waited and wondered whether Washington Democrats really care more about hurting President Trump than helping them through this crisis.”

Since the U.S. outbreak began at the beginning of the year, 190,000 have died from the coronavirus in the U.S., and millions of Americans have been thrown out of work due to the economic devastation of lockdown measures.

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