Senate Democrats united to vote against a COVID relief bill on Thursday, ultimately preventing it from reaching the 60 votes necessary for the bill to pass.
The proposed bill was supported by every Republican senator except for Rand Paul. The relief package would have given $650 billion for small businesses through the paycheck protection program, K-12 education, and drug or vaccine development and distribution, along with many other initiatives.
Senate Democrats have accused the Republicans of not providing enough aid in the package. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to MSNBC prior to voting on the bill. “We’re trying to get a bill that deals with the issues here. McConnell has become more and more cynical. His bill is a cynical bill. It’s cynical in what it’s left out… As the crisis gets bigger and bigger, Republicans think smaller and smaller. They’re moving backwards. This isn’t a ‘skinny’ bill. It’s emaciated,” said Schumer.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell roasted the Democrats with his response on Twitter, stating: “Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election.”
Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 10, 2020
The original proposal from the Republicans was also denounced by the Democrats, which included more funding, to the tune of $1 trillion. It seems that the Democrats will not be happy with a bill to help the American people unless it includes funding for their pet projects, or a total overhaul of our election system.
“The reason why we are at this specific package is because this is what we could find consensus after literally weeks of discussion and research. And so it’s doing the best we can do at this point with the information we have,” said Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota.
The Democrats proposed a stimulus bill back in May that would have cost $3.4 trillion, and extended the enhanced unemployment benefits of $600/week from the first COVID aid package. Republicans have taken issue with the enhanced benefits, stating that they are just an incentive for people to not return to work.
Over the summer, the White House’s attempted negotiation with Democrat leadership failed, as they were unable to reach a compromise.