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Coronavirus stimulus update: the Senate relief bill fails

On Thursday, the Senate failed to advance a Republican coronavirus stimulus plan, the latest blow to stalled efforts to approve another package to mitigate the economic damage of the pandemic.

The measure did not reach the 60 votes required in a procedural stage to pass approval. All Democrats present and one Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky, opposed with a 52-47 vote. The near-unanimous vote for the GOP followed weeks of disagreement within the Republican caucus over whether to approve more aid.

The legislation would have reinstated federal enhanced unemployment insurance at a rate of $ 300 per week, half of the $ 600 weekly payment due at the end of July. It would also authorize new small business loans and invest money in schools and Covid-1

9 tests, treatments and vaccines.

The measure did not include a second direct payment of $ 1,200 to individuals. There was also a lack of new aid for cash-strapped state and local governments or cash-strapped rent and mortgage assistance and food aid – all priorities for the Democrats.

“It’s beyond inadequate. It’s completely inadequate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Said of the GOP plan last Thursday.

United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R walks to the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., United States, on September 8, 2020.

Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Took the measure to the Senate chamber this week as efforts by the Trump administration and Democratic leaders to reach a bipartisan relief deal remained stalled. It aimed not only to show that Republicans, and particularly vulnerable GOP senators running for re-election this year, were taking action to fight the pandemic, but also to pressure Democrats ahead of election day.

“They can tell American families that they care more about politics than helping them,” McConnell said of Democratic senators who oppose the bill.

Congress has failed to pass a fifth coronavirus aid package even as the outbreak infects tens of thousands of Americans a day and the economic pain felt by millions of jobless people deepens. The lifelines, including jobless benefits, a federal moratorium on evictions, and the window to apply for small business loans from the Wage Protection Program, have all expired.

While President Donald Trump has taken unilateral measures to extend temporary unemployment aid to some Americans and limit evictions for a few months, only Congress can pass full relief because it controls federal spending.

Doubts have grown over the ability of lawmakers to pass further stimulus during the hot final weeks before the 2020 election. Even so, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she hopes Congress can pass another bill sooner. of the elections of 3 November.

Asked Wednesday if another relief bill would come, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin replied, “I don’t know.”

“We’ll see. I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there,” the Trump administration’s chief negotiator said in aid talks.

As Republicans try to keep their 53-47 Senate majority in November, every member of the government in office this year supported the aid package. The most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, Doug Jones of Alabama, opposed it.

So did Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tina Smith of Minnesota, who this year will face voters in states where the 2016 election was close.

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