A pared-down Republican coronavirus relief bill failed to advance in the Senate. The bill was eight votes short of the required 60 to move forward. Every Democrat voted against the bill, along with Republican Senator Rand Paul.
The legislation did not provide direct relief payments directly to Americans. Instead, it included $105 billion for schools, $16 billion for Covid-19 testing, $15 billion for childcare grants, and $31 billion to develop vaccines and refill the strategic national stockpile. The legislation also provided about $300 billion in federal aid to extend the $300 per week boost in unemployment until December 27 and provide more money to the Paycheck Protection Program.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell traded barbs with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over the relief bill.
"If past is prologue, once the Republicans see they can't intimidate us into voting for a wildly insufficient bill, they may come to the table and do what needs to be done," said Schumer on Wednesday. "We hope that will happen."
McConnell accused the Democrats of playing partisan politics by refusing to vote in favor of the relief package.
"What part of this bill are they opposed to?" McConnell asked during an appearance on Fox News. "What we tried to do, Dana, was to craft a package that underscored things we supposedly agree on: Kids in school, replenishing the popular small business loan program -- which is out of money -- more money for hospitals and covering unemployment insurance for another six months."
While Congress appears deadlocked on another relief package, President Donald Trump is reportedly working on executive actions to bypass the House and Senate.
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