Republicans in the U.S. Senate did their best this week to push through new legislation to provide relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic — but Democrats apparently had other plans.
According to the Daily Caller, Democrats blocked on Thursday a bill from Republicans that would have allocated $500 billion for coronavirus relief measures, including expanded unemployment benefits, more money for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and additional funding for COVID-19 testing.
GOP offers a deal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement Wednesday explaining the legislation and Republicans’ goals.
“We have put together a new targeted proposal containing several of the most urgent and most popular policies that would help Americans right now,” McConnell said, according to a separate report from the Daily Caller. “It will be a procedural vote, it’s not a vote to pass our bill tomorrow precisely as written.”
The majority leader explained: “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.”
“No help for American families”
But McConnell lamented that senior Democrats “were attacking our new proposal yesterday before they even read it” — and he was right to be concerned.
According to the Daily Caller, the bill fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to move forward. The legislation was opposed by every Democrat, along with Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Fox News reported.
“Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief,” McConnell complained in a tweet after the measure failed.
He added: “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.”
Meadows: Pelosi is “driving this train”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has also expressed frustration over Democrats’ failure to budge, arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is largely to blame for the current impasse in the Senate.
“I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker Pelosi’s chief of staff,” Meadows claimed during an interview with Politico last month. “The president wants [a deal], but I’m not optimistic,” he added.
“It’s really been Speaker Pelosi really driving this train as a conductor more so than really anybody,” Meadows alleged. “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.”