The Senate voted 47-47 on a $1.8 trillion bill to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus epidemic, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move the legislation forward. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wrote the bill Saturday night, promised on Sunday night to bring it up for a vote again Monday morning. Almost goading the Democrats to vote against it again as the stock market continues its free-fall. However, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the negotiations had halted.
Republicans are “throwing caution to the wind for average workers and people on Main Street and going balls to the wall for people on Wall Street,” Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said Sunday. Schumer pointed out almost all of the concerns that the Democrats have about the legislation, which The Washington Post has referred to as “by far the largest financial rescue ever attempted by Congress.”
While the Senate negotiations on the massive stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic continue, House Democrats have decided to draft their own counter-proposal titled the” Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.”
In a statement to the press, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican bill before the Senate places “corporations first, not workers and families.”
The Democrats’ latest bill, which is approximately 1,400 pages long, would prevent corporations from using taxpayer money for stock buybacks, provide a boost to unemployment insurance, strengthen the tax credits for children and earned income and, inject almost $40 billion into schools and universities to stabilize funding. The bill also directs billions of dollars in grant funding for states to assist with this year’s election through the “Election Assistance Commission.”
Pelosi has said the House might take up the Senate version of the bill if a bipartisan agreement is reached but has openly threatened to call back the lower chamber for a vote in case of a deadlock.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, on Monday, said that negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were making progress and that he hoped for a deal by the end of the day.
Democrats have blocked the bill from advancing in the Senate twice now over complaints that it was not tough enough on corporations set to receive money from the package and that it failed to bolster the health care response to the pandemic.