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Leaders from the White House and both parties of the Senate spent days negotiating a $1.4 trillion “Phase Three” stimulus package to alleviate the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew in from her vacation to scuttle the entire agreement Sunday.
“The build-up to this is that we had a high level of bipartisanship over the last 48 hours,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “And then, all of a sudden, the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up … and we’re back to square one,” he said, referring to Schumer and Pelosi.
“I want everybody to understand that if we aren’t able to act tomorrow, it’s because of our colleagues on the other side, continue to dicker.” The House has been in recess for a week, while the Senate canceled its recess.
.@senatemajldr: "We had a high level of bipartisanship in 5 different working groups over the last 48 hours, where members who were participating were reaching agreement. Then all of a sudden the Democratic Leader & the Speaker of the House shows up and we're back to square one." pic.twitter.com/8ADBn8Tcj9
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 22, 2020
The roll call was 47-47, and two-thirds are required to advance the measure. Five GOP senators could not vote since they are in self-quarantine. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the first senator to announce he tested positive for the virus.
Despite the mammoth price tag of $1.4 trillion, Democrats complained the aid package was too small. They demanded food security aid, small business loans, and more unemployment insurance. Democrat Senators Schumer, Durbin, Cardin, Cantwell, Shaheen, Stabenow, Wyden, and Reed were in the room negotiating the bill since Friday. All voted against it Sunday.
Futures markets are spooked at the impasse. McConnell decided to vote against the package in order to bring it back for a vote soon. “Hopefully some adults will show up on the other side of the room and understand the gravity of the situation before the markets go down further,” he said. “We’ve never been confronted by anything like this before.”
After Democrats blocked the vote, the National Republican Senatorial Committee [NRSC] released a statement accusing Pelosi, Schumer and Senate Democrats of “partisan fervor to thwart a critical coronavirus relief package while our country faces a crippling pandemic.”
“DSCC-backed candidates last weekend had no problem throwing partisan barbs at the same Republican senators working day and night to find solutions to the complex problems facing their constituents at home,” NRSC Communications Director Jesse Hunt said. “Those same candidates should prove they aren’t beholden to their chief benefactor Schumer and disavow Senate Democrats’ unthinkable decision to filibuster.”Published in