Senate Democrats have blocked the passage of a $ 500 billion Republican economic aid bill due to the coronavirus pandemic, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin are still negotiating a comprehensive deal. This was announced on Wednesday by CNBC.
While the parties claim they have made progress in the negotiations, an agreement that can pass both houses of Congress before the presidential election day, November 3, still seems unlikely.
The bill, put to the Senate vote by the GOP, includes additional funding for a payroll security program, an additional $ 300 per week federal unemployment benefit per person, and assistance to private businesses. The Republicans did not include in their bill a provision for repaying US taxpayers $ 1,200 per person.
The GOP tried Wednesday to pass a bill similar to the one Democrats opposed last month. The bill required 60 votes to pass, but the Republicans failed to get them. 44 Democrats voted against the law, 51 Republicans voted for the bill.
The political stalemate facing lawmakers and the White House prolongs the difficult situation in which millions of Americans find themselves relying on additional federal assistance during the economic downturn associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Republicans in Congress argue that Democrats have included many provisions in their bill that are not related to the aftermath of the crisis. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats are acting on an all-or-nothing basis, seeking to pass a nearly $ 2 trillion economic bailout bill.
Democrats, meanwhile, have accused the Republican Party of not wanting to acknowledge the scale of the economic and health crises that have gripped the country. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the Republican plan “one-sided” and “lean.”
The failure of the Republican bill comes as Nancy Pelosi and Stephen Mnuchin continue their efforts to reach agreement on an economic aid package that will suit both Democrats and Republicans. After a telephone conversation on Tuesday, the parties said they had made progress in negotiations. Both Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the deal could be closed before the end of this week.
On Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi and Mnuchin reaffirmed that the parties are close to reaching an agreement. The speaker and the finance minister will hold talks again on Thursday.