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Senate Democrats Block Targeted COVID Relief Bills

The legislators said the bills were not offering enough protections

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made clear his dislike for the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that is being negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; thus, he rolled out two smaller-scale bills for votes this week that were predictably blocked by Senate Democrats.

The first vote was on a $120 billion Continuing Paycheck Protection Program Act, which also would have rerouted unused virus relief funds to the PPP that has helped small businesses and other entities stay solvent during the pandemic. The second was a $500 billion bill that included extending expired unemployment benefits and providing liability protections for businesses but omitted Democratic priorities such as funding for state and local governments. It failed to include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for some individuals, which President Donald Trump has endorsed.

McConnell said the chamber should put aside the things they can’t agree on and vote on the things they can. McConnell said replenishing the PPP is “as bipartisan as it gets... Our Democratic colleagues have been happy to talk about further relief – as long as it’s remained a hypothetical concept. But every time the Senate’s had a chance to actually do something, they’ve said no," McConnell added.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the votes this week a political stunt and not a serious attempt at pandemic relief.

“It seems to be another attempt at giving Republicans political cover before the election,” Schumer said. “Instead of repeating the same failed partisan gambit, leader McConnell should be working with Democrats and the administration on a proposal that actually has a chance of making it through both houses of Congress.”

This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.

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