Senate Republicans to Vote on ‘Targeted’ $500B COVID-19 Relief Bill as Pelosi-Mnuchin Talks Stall
Do you support Congress passing a $500 billion COVID-19 relief bill?
What’s the story?
- The Senate is set to return next week for a vote on Republicans’ “targeted” $500 billion coronavirus (COVID-19) relief bill amid the ongoing impasse in negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Trump administration regarding a larger package.
- The bill is expected to be similar, if not identical, to a $500 billion package that got a vote in September, which included $300 billion in new money and repurposed about $200 billion in unspent funding from the CARES Act. That package would’ve provided $105 billion in funding for schools to help with in-person and remote learning, extended federally-enhanced unemployment benefits, replenished forgivable small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, and provided funding for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccine development.,
- Senate Democrats blocked the COVID-19 relief package in September, as all 46 Democrats in attendance voted no along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and it fell on 52-47 vote, eight votes shy of the 60 needed to continue the debate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed skepticism that this time will be any different:
“What I’ll put on the floor is a half a trillion dollars ― that’s a lot of money ― half a trillion dollar program to target the actual needs that the country has. I’m not anticipating that [Democrats] are going to support it.”
- President Donald Trump upped his counteroffer to Democrats from $1.6 trillion to $1.8 trillion, but Pelosi has continued to insist that a relief bill must be at least $2.2 trillion. When Pelosi was pressed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on why she wouldn’t accept a smaller deal despite some Democrats openly saying she should, Pelosi accused Blitzer of being an “apologist” for the Republican position.
- The House is not currently in session, although lawmakers were advised before recess began that they may be recalled for votes with at least 24 hours of notice a deal has been reached.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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