Senate Republicans’ attempt to pass a $500 billion coronavirus relief package failed on Wednesday, blocked once again on a party line vote.
The final count was 51-44, nine votes shy of the 60 yeas needed to advance the bill.
Their previous attempt to pass this package came last month. It was also blocked by Democrats.
Wary of the expensive price tag on a comprehensive deal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House are working to finalize, Senate Republicans opted to pursue the $500 billion standalone bill that would have provided a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses this week.
The package included liability protections for businesses, scaled-down enhanced unemployment benefits, more than $100 billion for schools, as well as additional funds for testing, contact tracing, and vaccine research.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the bill was never designed to address all the issues eyed by both parties.
“The legislation before us is neither Republicans’ nor Democrats’ idea of a perfect bill. I think we’re all clear on that. But it would move us past Speaker Pelosi’s all-or-nothing obstruction and deliver huge support, right now, for the most pressing needs of our nation,” he said before the vote.
Senate Democrats, however, felt the bill was a political ploy intended to keep the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on schedule.
“It’s laden with poison pills that our Republican colleagues know Democrats would never support. That’s not a real attempt to legislate and get something done,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said.
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