Senate Coronavirus Bill Fails, Stalemate Continues
The move for a “Phase 3” coronavirus stimulus package is not going well. Or anywhere fast.
Senate Democrats blocked a massive coronavirus stimulus bill from moving forward Sunday in the Senate, as partisan disputes raged over the legislation that’s aimed at arresting the economy’s precipitous decline.
Negotiations continued even as the initial procedural vote fell short, with 47 senators voting in favor and 47 opposed. The tally was well short of the 60 votes that were needed to move forward. The number of “aye” votes was especially low because five Republicans are quarantined over coronavirus fears.
Although senators of both parties and Trump administration officials vowed to continue negotiating — around the clock if necessary — the failed vote was the latest negative signal about Congress’ ability to come together around the legislation, which aims to inject close to $1.8 trillion into businesses and households. Policy makers are scrambling to address a spike in layoffs and businesses gasping for assistance as millions of Americans stay home to avoid contagion.
Ever since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced the legislation Thursday night, senators have missed one self-imposed deadline after another to reach a deal. The vote Sunday evening was delayed three hours so talks could continue after it became clear it would fail, but no resolution was reached and it failed anyway.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was not happy:
— Marty Golingan (@mgolingan1) March 22, 2020