Sep 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats block Republicans' "skinny" stimulus bill

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell gives a press conference
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked Republicans' efforts to pass a slimmed down $500 billion coronavirus relief bill.

Why it matters: The bill was always going to be dead on arrival.

  • Instead, the legislation was seen widely as a political maneuver to put Democrats, who passed their $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, on defense.
  • Republicans also hope the vote will create more goodwill with the public as broader negotiations between Congress and the White House remain in a stalemate.

Details: The bill would have included an extension of the small business Paycheck Protection Program, expanded enhanced unemployment benefits, and provided more funding for schools and child care programs.

Between the lines: Republicans, who knew the bill would never pass the Senate given it covers just a fraction of what Democrats' want in a new relief package, were initially concerned the bill wouldn't even get a 51-vote majority — something that would have been seen as a major failure by the White House and Senate Republican leadership.

  • However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was able to cobble together enough votes in the 11th hour to push the tally to 52-47.
  • Every GOP senator, apart from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), voted in favor of the legislation. Every Senate Democrat voted against the package.

The other side: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have said the proposal "is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support."

  • Earlier today at her weekly press conference, Pelosi said: “Let’s not have a skinny bill when we have a massive problem."

Go deeper: Senate Republicans to vote on skinny bill amid stimulus deadlock

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