Senate Democrats Block Coronavirus Stimulus Package

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Democrats in the Senate voted to block the passage of a coronavirus stimulus package Thursday after months of stalled negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.

The vote was 52-47, and the measure needed 60 votes to pass. The $500 billion bill would include a federal unemployment benefit, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and additional money for more coronavirus testing. If the bill was passed, money would have been directed to schools. Every Democrat voted against the stimulus package. The only Republican who voted against it was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

“Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election,” McConnell said in a tweet after the vote.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would be voting on the coronavirus stimulus Wednesday, saying “We have put together a new targeted proposal containing several of the most urgent and most popular policies that would help Americans right now. And tomorrow the whole Senate will vote on it,” on the Senate floor.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speak to reporters after briefing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, on their meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, for coronavirus relief talks at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on August 3, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said August 26 that he reached out to Pelosi to restart negotiations for a phase 4 stimulus package. In an interview with Politico, Meadows said he had his staff contact Pelosi’s chief of staff about starting up another round of discussion for a coronavirus stimulus package, adding that he does not expect to hear back from her.

The White House and Congress failed to come to an agreement on legislation in August before recess. (RELATED: McConnell Says Senate Will Vote On Coronavirus Stimulus Package ‘As Soon As This Week’)

“I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker Pelosi’s chief of staff,” Meadows said.

“It’s really been Speaker Pelosi really driving this train as a conductor more so than really anybody,” Meadows added. “And I think privately she says she wants a deal and publicly she says she wants a deal, but when it comes to dealing with Republicans and the administration, we haven’t seen a lot of action.” (RELATED: McConnell Sets Date For Coronavirus Stimulus Vote, Says Democrats Don’t Want ‘Any Bipartisan Relief’)

In late July, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House would remain in session until a deal on a stimulus package is reached, but that did not happen. There are now no House votes until Sept. 14, and members will have 24 hours notice to return for any votes related to coronavirus.

Schumer and Pelosi have been against any “skinny” legislation that is lower than $3 trillion.