Coronavirus stimulus checks: Last possible effort to pass relief bill fails in Senate

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Possibly, the last effort to come up with a relief package before the election has now failed. On Wednesday, the Senate failed to pass the $500 billion targeted relief package (without coronavirus stimulus checks) as negotiations continue to drag on between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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Coronavirus stimulus checks: Senate fails to pass $500 billion bill

"The legislation before us is neither Republicans’ nor Democrats’ idea of a perfect bill. I think we’re all clear on that," McConnell said Wednesday before the vote. "But it would move us past Speaker Pelosi’s all-or-nothing obstruction and deliver huge support, right now, for the most pressing needs of our nation."

Talking in favor of the $500 billion package, McConnell said the two sides should put their differences aside and pass this bill “while Washington continues to argue over the rest."

Despite the passionate speech from McConnell, Senate Democrats blocked GOP’s effort to pass the $500 billion stimulus bill. It is the same bill that Democrats blocked last month. The bill, which failed in a 51-44 party-line vote, short of the 60 votes needed, would have given a boost to the weekly unemployment benefits, as well as allocated funding to schools and for testing and vaccine development.

Almost all Democrats opposed the bill, arguing that more money is needed to fight coronavirus and meet the needs of Americans. Senate Republicans, on the other hand, are against passing a large stimulus bill citing the rising national debt. Also, they are against Democrats’ demand for approving additional funds for local and state governments.

McConnell, on Wednesday, said Democrats want “silly stuff.” These demands, as per McConnell, are "wheelbarrows of cash" for state and local governments that "Democrats have mismanaged for decades."

What’s the status on stimulus bill?

Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, called Wednesday's vote a political stunt from Republicans on proposals that “are in reality designed to fail.” Schumer also accused the GOP of playing “games” with Americans by holding a “fake vote.”

Also, he criticized the GOP bill for lack of funding toward coronavirus testing and tracing, adding that the proposal is filled with "poison pills."

Prior to this vote, the Senate also voted on a targeted relief bill on Tuesday. This bill also failed to get enough votes to pass the Senate. If passed, the bill would have reauthorized the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses.

Negotiations on the next relief package have been ongoing for three months now, but the lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement. Each side is blaming the other side for failure to come up with a deal.

Pelosi has been demanding $2.2 trillion for the relief package. The White House so far has made a counteroffer of about $1.8 trillion. Meanwhile, Pelosi and Mnuchin continue to negotiate the stimulus bill. On Wednesday, Pelosi said that she is "optimistic" about a bill, but expressed doubt over the timing.