The Senate on Sunday night failed to pass a procedural cloture vote on a phase-three coronavirus stimulus bill as there has been continued internal dispute between both parties.
The vote was 47-47. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the bill would include $75 billion for hospitals and that two-thirds of all new money in the bill would go to states, however, this vote will likely end consideration of this bill. McConnell also said, “it’s just about time to take yes for an answer.” Democrats have said the coronavirus bill lacks new SNAP funds and were reportedly pushing for expanded emergency leave provisions and more than three months of unemployment insurance.
Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, who has been negotiating with members of Congress on behalf of the White House, was spotted entering Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, 20 minutes away from the cloture vote.
McConnell voted no, which was not planned. He voted with the Democrats so he would have the option of recalling the vote, as Senate rules state.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she will halt negotiations with the Senate and move to pass her own coronavirus package in the House, which could drag things out longer than many expected. Pelosi’s legislation will be a $1.6 trillion emergency package, according to Politico.
The text for a phase-three Senate bill announced Friday would give $1,200 checks to every person, while couples would receive $2,400. That $1,200 check will go to Americans making less than $75,000 annually. Each child will receive $500. The amount is reduced by $5 for every $100 a person earns over $75,000. Those making above $99,000 would not get any money.
The GOP’s bill also includes specific provisions for disabled veterans, low-income seniors, and individuals with no income tax liability with at least $2,500 in qualifying income, according to The Senate Finance Committee. There will also be a much smaller benefit of $600 for millions without federal tax liability.
A task force reportedly gave the idea to Republicans during their caucus lunch. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly opposes direct payments. However, Graham said he is “willing to pay 75 percent of people’s income up to $80,000 to get us through,” adding, “this ought to be enough money to get us through the next six to eight weeks.”
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to help provide money to businesses and citizens suffering from the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The Senate overwhelmingly approved of the coronavirus aid package that provides paid sick leave, and expands unemployment assistance and resources for testing. Ninety senators voted for the bill and eight voted against it. (RELATED: Senate Passes Coronavirus Aid Package)
The vote comes after the House of Representatives passed a reworked coronavirus bill Monday. The House approved the plan via unanimous consent. The House then sent the original coronavirus package plus a retooled version to the Senate. The Senate then passed three separate bills which will now be sent to President Donald Trump. (RELATED: House Passes Updated Coronavirus Bill)
McConnell said Tuesday he decided to vote on the House bills as soon as possible and not blend the House bills with the upcoming Senate legislation. He also added that the Senate will not leave until they pass the next coronavirus bill.
Trump signed an $8.3 billion funding bill Friday to help fight coronavirus. That bill gives more than $3 billion for the research and development of vaccines. There is also $800 million for research for treatments. It also includes $2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $61 million to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Yahoo Finance. (RELATED: Senate Passes Coronavirus Spending Bill)
Trump held a press conference at the end of February discussing how the U.S. will deal with the disease and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the task force. (RELATED: President Trump Appoints Vice President Pence To Head Coronavirus Task Force)
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic March 11.