Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-backed $500 billion CCP virus stimulus bill on Oct. 21 from advancing in the midst of talks between the White House and House Democrats on a larger relief package.
The GOP, led by Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), tried to hold a debate on the measure. It was blocked after Republicans failed to obtain 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle.
The Republicans’ bill included a boost to federal unemployment benefits, more Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses, and funding for schools and testing.
“Democrats have said we shouldn’t pass any more relief at all unless Speaker Pelosi gets her whole far-left wish list, including all kinds of non-COVID-related demands. Working families in Kentucky and around the country deserve better than this obstruction,” McConnell wrote on Twitter, seemingly referring to lengthy and often stalled negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House.
McConnell has previously described the House Democrat-passed HEROES Act as a “socialist manifesto” that would include many provisions unrelated to the pandemic.
The majority leader said that the Republican bill has a number of “programs that Democrats claim they support,” adding: “When you actually support something, you get to vote for it … When you actually want an outcome, you vote it. Strangely enough, that’s not what seems to be happening.”
His counterpart, Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), asserted on the floor that the Oct. 21 vote wasn’t designed to move a bill forward, describing the move as a “political stunt.”
“I’m forcing a vote that the Senate has never confirmed a Supreme Court nominee this close to a presidential election day. We aren’t going to have business as usual while the GOP tries to use an illegitimate process to jam through a nominee to rip away health care from millions,” he wrote on Twitter.
No Democratic senators supported the Republican bill on Oct. 21.
It comes as White House officials hold negotiations with Pelosi and as President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass stimulus legislation in the near future.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Pelosi both signaled optimism in recent interviews that a deal could be made soon.
“I’m optimistic that there will be a bill,” Pelosi said in a televised interview on Oct. 21. “It’s a question of is it in time to pay the November rent, which is my goal, or is it going to be shortly thereafter and retroactive?”
Meadows told Fox News the administration hopes to “get some kind of deal in the next 48 hours or so.”