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Politics Senate Dems block Republicans’ narrow Covid relief plan

07:15  22 october  2020
07:15  22 october  2020 Source:   politico.com

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Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a narrow 0 billion Republican -led coronavirus relief proposal, as the path forward on a broader deal still “The Republican majority will bring up a bill designed to fail, their partisan, emaciated Covid relief bill. The bill we’re voting on today has already

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Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a narrow $500 billion Republican-led coronavirus relief proposal, as the path forward on a broader deal still remains elusive just two weeks before the election.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. © Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The Republican measure, which failed to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to move forward, was nearly identical to the Senate GOP bill Democrats rejected in September. Republicans are accusing Democrats, who are pushing for a multi-trillion dollar plan, of taking an all-or-nothing approach to coronavirus relief, while Democrats dismissed Wednesday’s vote as nothing more than a political stunt.

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Senate Republicans have repeatedly stated their opposition to additional COVID -19 relief spending near the trillion mark and have focused instead on Trump predicted that Senate Republicans would fall in line if Mnuchin and Pelosi reach a broad bipartisan deal. He also said he would be willing

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, are continuing discussions on a broader coronavirus relief package, though the California Democrat acknowledged Wednesday on MSNBC that a deal could slip until after the election. But even if the White House and Democratic leadership reach an agreement, it’s unclear when the Senate would take it up.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week he would hold a vote on a package, but did not specify when. McConnell has been primarily focused on confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the high court before the election.

McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer traded jabs ahead of the vote, with McConnell accusing Democrats of doing Pelosi’s bidding, and Schumer arguing that Republicans only care about confirming Barrett. No Democrats sided with Republicans on the 51-44 vote.

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COVID is hard enough. Now, Americans will face evictions and lose critical unemployment benefits. Why? Because Republicans keep objecting!

Senate Republicans attempted to pass a more narrow coronavirus stimulus bill, but Democrats blocked the plan . It also would have authorized new small business loans and put money toward schools and into Covid -19 testing, treatment and vaccines.

“If this relief does not pass, it will be because Senate Democrats chose to do Speaker Pelosi’s political dirty work rather than stand up for struggling people,” McConnell said.

“The games continue today,” Schumer said. “The Republican majority will bring up a bill designed to fail, their partisan, emaciated Covid relief bill. The bill we’re voting on today has already failed in the Senate, didn’t get a Democratic vote and we already know it lacks the votes.”

The GOP proposal provides $300 in weekly boosted federal unemployment benefits through the end of December, $100 billion for reopening schools, as well as money for testing and vaccines. The proposal also includes liability protections for schools and businesses, a key priority for McConnell that Democrats oppose.

Democrats are also seeking more money for unemployment benefits, hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to state and cities and another round of stimulus checks to individuals, among other provisions.

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The Senate is getting back to work Tuesday after its August recess, and along with averting a government shutdown at the end of September, their agenda includes trying to pass a COVID -19 economic relief package.

Senate Republicans are likely to include a provision to provide billions of dollars for child care providers in the GOP’s narrow coronavirus relief bill The GOP Senate ’s current relief package is expected to cost less than the measure they proposed in July, and includes a weekly 0 boost in

With Nov. 3 fast approaching, a coronavirus relief deal coming together before the election is looking increasingly unlikely. While Mnuchin and Pelosi are pressing forward with talks on a broader package, most Senate Republicans are not expected to support the $1.8 trillion price tag the White House is proposing. And McConnell told members at a lunch Tuesday that he discouraged the White House from a large stimulus deal ahead of the election that would further divide the GOP caucus.

But President Donald Trump is betting that he can persuade the GOP caucus to go along with a stimulus package if Pelosi and Mnuchin manage to reach an agreement. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday morning on Fox Business that he remains “optimistic” about reaching a deal in the next 48 hours and planned to speak with Senate Republicans about supporting it. He added that the biggest issue remains state and local aid.

"I can tell you that the negotiations have entered a new phase, which is more on the technical side of trying to get the language right, if we can agree upon the numbers,” Meadows said. "We're still apart. Still a number of issues to work on. But the last 24 hours have moved the ball down the field."

His comments come as millions remain unemployed and the death toll from the virus has exceeded 220,000.

Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC she was hopeful about reaching an agreement, but also suggested that a pact might not be reached before Nov. 3.

“I’m optimistic, because even with what Mitch McConnell says, ‘we don’t want to do it before the election,’ but let’s keep working so that we can do it after the election,” Pelosi said.

“We want it before, but again I want people to know help is on the way,” she said.

Nick Niedzwiadek contributed to this report.

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