On Tuesday, Senate Republicans unveiled their ‘skinny’ bill— an estimated $300 billion proposal aimed to provide relief to American citizens struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the Senate voted on the legislation, and it failed to pass. In the words of Forbes, it’s “not clear whether there will be any more federal coronavirus relief any time soon.”
Republicans needed 60 votes for the bill to pass, and it ultimately resulted in 52 votes in favor and 47 votes against it. The only GOP “no” vote came from Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.
It wasn’t clear, even in the days leading up to the vote, that Republicans would unanimously support the legislation. The proposal included $300 per week federal unemployment through December 27, expanded terms for the Paycheck Protection Program, and more money for schools and the post office, according to Forbes. It did not include another round of stimulus checks for the American people.
Here’s what you need to know:
Will Negotiations Continue?
According to Forbes, there is “no indication” that bipartisan talks will continue in the near future.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Senator Pat Roberts recently said, “It’s sort of a dead-end street… Very unfortunate, but it is what it is.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, is pushing for talks to continue. On Thursday, she said, “The needs must be met. We need every penny in order to stop this.”
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Republicans emphasized Democrats’ “unwillingness” to settle for a scaled-back package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying, “Today every senator will either say they want to send families the relief we can agree to or they can send families nothing.”
In return, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated, “Here now in September, Republicans finally felt the public pressure to support a bill. But instead of working with Democrats on something that could pass, our friends on the other side tried to find the bare minimum that Senate Republicans could support.”
The GOP Bill Was Largely Considered a Political Maneuver
In the words of Axios, the GOP bill was widely seen as a “political maneuver” to “put Democrats… on defense.”
The outlet added, “Republicans also hope the vote will create more goodwill with the public as broader negotiations between Congress and the White House remain in a stalemate.”
One sticking point when it came to the bill was the fact that it left out another round of stimulus checks. As highlighted in a previous Heavy article, Both the Democratic HEROES Act, which was passed in May, and the Republican HEALS Act, which was introduced in July, included a second round of stimulus checks, and in the words of CNBC, this was “considered one of the less controversial aspects of the next relief bill.”
It’s unclear if the details of another stimulus package will be ironed out in the near future, if ever. Asked about another economic relief package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “I don’t know. We’ll see. I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there.”
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