Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the Senate will hold a vote on a slimmed-down $500 billion pandemic relief bill on Thursday, although it will likely not garner enough support to overcome a 60-vote filibuster from Democrats.
“We’re not going to let Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leader kill and bury coronavirus relief behind closed doors without putting every senator on the record,” McConnell said Wednesday, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
If the vote clears the Senate, the bill also may not receive the support from the House, which is controlled by the Democrats.
“It will be a procedural vote. It’s not a vote to pass our bill tomorrow precisely as written. It’s a vote for senators to say whether they want to move forward toward huge amounts of relief for kids, for jobs, for health care, or whether they are happier doing absolutely nothing,” McConnell said Wednesday.
McConnell’s proposed bill will provide $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits, an extension of the Payment Protection Program (PPP), and liability protections. It does not include nearly $1 trillion in funds to state and local jurisdictions, which Democrats sought in their $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, passed in May. Also absent are the $1,200 stimulus payments and checks.
Congress already passed legislation worth more than $2 trillion with the CARES Act in March. That bill was designed to offset economic damages incurred by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged in 2019 in China.
Pelosi and Schumer have said in recent weeks that they are willing to cut about $1 trillion from the bill, although Pelosi said they will not pass a bill that is worth less than $2.2 trillion. They made the remarks after talks stalled between the White House and Democrats over the bill.
“Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement earlier this week.
And last week, McConnell told reporters that he is not optimistic about another pandemic relief bill being passed before the November election.
“I don’t know if there will be another package in the next few weeks or not,” he said in Kentucky. “The cooperative spirit we had in March and April has dissipated as we’ve moved closer and closer to the election.”