On Thursday, Senate Democrats blocked a $300 billion coronavirus stimulus bill that would have provided much-needed financial assistant to Americans. The move dims the hopes that Congress will pass a relief bill ahead of the November elections.
Failure to pass a relief bill
The bill fell short of the needed 60 votes to break through the Democratic filibuster with a tally of 52 to 47 votes. The rules require three-fifths of the members to agree and allow a final vote. Republican Senator Rand Paul was among the Democrats who voted against the bill.
According to USA Today, several senators voiced their concerns after the voting that a coronavirus relief bill would unlikely be passed before the general elections.
Senator Pat Roberts said that the coronavirus pandemic was not the only thing America was facing but also a pandemic of politics. He explained that the path moving forward with a relief bill was bleak. The official noted they hit a dead-end street, and while unfortunate, it was a fact.
The Republican proposal titled the "Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act" included more unemployment benefits for jobless individuals. The bill also aimed to support school funding and provide liability protections for businesses and health care facilities.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed the bill on Tuesday. He said that the $300 billion funding was only a small part of the previous coronavirus relief bills that politicians argued for weeks.
Initially, Republicans looked to support a $1 trillion relief bill while Democrats focused on a larger $3 trillion package in the House in May.
The continued stalled talks between Republicans and Democrats on a new coronavirus relief bill suggest little chance of a new package being approved before the November elections.
The delay would be inevitable despite bipartisan support, and Thursday's vote would mark the resumption of discussions. Lawmakers only have a few weeks before the general elections and would still need to pass several spending bills to battle the threat of a government shutdown by the end of the month.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio posted on Twitter that he believes that Congress would not pass a new coronavirus relief bill before the elections, as reported by The New York Times.
The official's comments mirrored the pessimistic views of Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week. Mnuchin said that despite knowing millions of Americans needed the help of a new coronavirus relief bill, that support would not likely come soon.
Economists believe that if a new relief package does not come, the economy's recent recovery would be placed at risk. The issue is also a result of the federal aid being cut off from Americans.
Almost 30 million people received unemployment benefits every week before August 22, and nearly 25 percent of small businesses stated they would require additional financial assistance for the following months.
According to the New York Post, politicians' failure in passing the bill leads many unemployed workers to suffer. Despite Democrats wanting to renew the weekly $600 unemployment benefits and Trump signing an executive order that distributes a new weekly $400 assistance, the funds would most likely not last long.