Mar 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Procedural vote on coronavirus stimulus fails for 2nd time in 24 hours

Mitch McConnell, Steven Mnuchin and Chuck Schumer. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

A procedural vote on Senate Republicans' $1.8 trillion Phase 3 stimulus package failed on Monday for the second time in less than 24 hours.

The big picture: Patience is wearing thin on Capitol Hill as talks over providing desperately needed aid to Americans and businesses continue to stall.

  • Republican senators, many of whom have been more frustrated in the last 24 hours than I've ever seen them, are accusing Democrats of playing politics during a national crisis.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats continue to argue that the Senate GOP's legislation is a corporate slush fund that doesn't do enough to help American workers. This has driven House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to draft her own version of a Phase 3 bill.
  • Today's motion to proceed with the bill failed entirely along party lines, with the exception of Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who voted with Republicans in favor of the motion to proceed with a vote on the package.

What they're saying:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I’d like to see Senate Democrats tell small business employees in their states who are literally being laid off every day that they’re filibustering relief that will keep people on the payroll because Democrats’ special interest friends want to squeeze employers while they’re vulnerable."
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: "The bottom line is very simple. We are fighting for a better bill because this bill will have an effect for a very long time."
  • Pelosi: “The Senate Republicans’ bill, as presented, put corporations first, not workers and families. Today, House Democrats will unveil a bill that takes responsibility for the health, wages and well-being of America’s workers: the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act." (Details)

What's next: Democrats are prepared to continue blocking the Senate Republicans' bill until they get more concessions. Negotiations will continue until both parties, as well as the White House, can strike a deal that delivers the necessary 60 votes to move to a final vote.

Go deeper

White House, Congress reach deal on $2 trillion coronavirus relief package

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves a meeting in the Strom Thurmond Room during negotiations in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After days of intense negotiations, the White House and Republican and Democratic Senate leaders struck a bipartisan deal early Wednesday over a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The emergency legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised to pass later Wednesday will deliver vital aid to workers, small businesses, corporations and health care providers under strain from the illness, which has infected more than 55,000 people in the U.S. and killed more than 800.

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Lawmakers reject renewables aid in latest round of coronavirus relief

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The renewable power sector would not get sought-after aid in the COVID-19 economic plans before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, a setback for the industry warning of steep job losses and scuttled projects.

Driving the news: House Democrats' $2.5 trillion proposal unveiled last night omits what industry groups and some lawmakers wanted: an extension of deadlines to use tax credits and the ability to quickly monetize them. The provisions are also absent from the Senate's GOP-drafted "phase three" proposal.

How the coronavirus stimulus bill impacts the energy sector

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The White House and Senate struck a deal on a roughly $2 trillion economic rescue package early Wednesday that lacks separate energy provisions sought by Republicans and Capitol Hill Democrats.

Driving the news: It omits $3 billion to buy roughly 77 million barrels of oil for the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a plan Democrats called a "bailout" for the oil industry, per Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.