Hopes of another stimulus check may not be dead yet, but they are fading fast. On Thursday, Democrats blocked the $500 billion Senate Republican bill on the Senate floor. Now, several senators believe the way forward for another coronavirus relief package is unclear and there may not be any package before the November election.
$500 billion bill was bound to fail
On Thursday, the Senate bill failed with a 52-47 vote, unable to get the needed 60 votes. The bill was opposed by all Democrats and one Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky. Even 52 votes can be looked at as a victory for the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Wednesday declined to confirm if he had 51 votes.
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The legislation, if passed, would have helped many cash-strapped Americans who are finding it difficult to survive the coronavirus pandemic. The GOP’s bill included $300 per week as federal unemployment insurance, loans for small businesses, money for schools, as well as funds for Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines.
However, the bill didn’t include $1,200 in stimulus checks, new aid to state and local governments, as well as money for rental and mortgage assistance and food aid. All these are priorities for Democrats.
“It is beyond insufficient. It is completely inadequate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.
The GOP’s so-called skinny bill was bound to fail as it was too low for the Democrats, who are demanding $2.2 trillion. After their initial demand for the more than $3 trillion HEROES Act, the Democrats have come down to $2.2 trillion. The Trump administration’s $1.3 trillion offer is the nearest so far to the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion demand.
Coronavirus relief package before election?
Now that another effort to pass a coronavirus relief package has failed, many believe that the road ahead for the next package is unclear.
When asked if the stimulus efforts were over until after the November elections, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama told, “It looks that way.”
“You know, you never know around here. Sometimes things look bleak and they revive, and so forth. But we thought the scaled down version was a good bill, good timing and everything else. The Democrats obviously thought otherwise,” Shelby said, according to MarketWatch.
Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican also indicated uncertainty over the next coronavirus relief package. “I think it’s a 50-50 proposition at this point. I just don’t know to what extent our Democratic colleagues want a deal,” Cornyn said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, is still hopeful of Congress passing another coronavirus relief package before the November 3 election.
Pelosi may be hopeful, but the stalemate is expected to continue at least until one side is ready to compromise. But, a compromise looks unlikely for now as both sides have enough votes to block the efforts of the other side.