Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi did their best to negotiate with Senator Mitch McConnell, Mark Meadows, and Steve Mnuchin on a second coronavirus relief package. But the Democrats wanted more. And surprisingly, it was the Senate Republicans who weren’t on McConnell’s side, as they formed a coalition against more government spending. This led to some tough negotiations, as Pelosi and Schumer did their best to get McConnell to increase his trillion dollar bill by another trillion, giving more money to unemployment insurance and state and local governments.
But this game of chicken didn’t work, and forced President Trump to sign executive orders to address the immediate concerns by Americans over needed release. And today, Senator Mitch McConnell plans to bring an even skinnier version of the bill to the Senate floor.
The bill won’t have enough votes to override the filibuster, but it will show the American people what their lawmakers are doing. If the Democrats don’t vote, it will look like they’re not serious about passing legislation to help with coronavirus relief. Just like when Trump passed his coronavirus executive orders, the Democrats at first claimed to challenge the movement legally, but then realized the optics.
In a joint-statement, Pelosi and Schumer said, “If anyone doubts McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill. This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support.”
But McConnell has been working for weeks with the White House on a narrower version of the bill, which he believes 20 of his colleagues won’t vote for because of their refusal to pass more spending legislation on top of the CARES Act. The legislation will give, however, senators in tough reelection campaigns some much needed ammunition. McConnell said, “Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand int he way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation…I will make sure every Senate Democrat who has said they’d like to reach an agreement gets the opportunity to walk the walk.”
McConnell’s second version of the bill focuses on “urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues.” These include federal unemployment benefits, Payment Protection Program funding, and more money for testing. A major sticking point that will have Republican senators voting no, however, is the funding for schools. Senator Ted Cruz, for example, wants there to be tax-breaks for state at home schooling. The bill will also include liability protection for businesses with lawsuits related to the virus. The new bill’s price tag is expected to be around $500 billion.
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