Coronavirus economic stimulus bill stalled in the Senate


2020 AFGE Legislative Conference - Monday/Flickr/AFGE/CC BY 2.0

Nancy Pelosi speaking in Washington, D.C. at the annual Legislative Conference.

The Senate failed to advance the massive economic stimulus bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, for a second time, intended to deliver aid to U.S. businesses and the American public but blocked twice in 24 hours.

The Republican bill, proposed by Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, needed 60 votes and failed to win over any democratic support, with McConnell quick to blame the Democrats for “obstruction.” 

“We’re fiddling with the emotions of Americans, with their markets and healthcare, they expect us to act tomorrow, and I want everyone to understand that we weren’t able to act because of the other side,” McConnell said.

In response, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, presented the Democratic House’s counterproposal, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, based on supporting workers through the economic struggle. 

“After review of Senator McConnell’s proposal, it is not pro-worker and instead puts corporations way ahead of workers. The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act takes responsibility for the health, wages, and well-being of America’s workers,” Pelosi said.

The 1,400-page-Democratic house bill would boost unemployment insurance, stabilize funding within schools and universities by injecting almost $40 billion, and would fund states to carry out this year’s elections. It would also prevent large corporations from using taxpayer money for stock buybacks, according to National Public Radio.

Pelosi’s proposal would help not just families and workers, but also small businesses: the bill proposes $500 billion in grants and interest-free loans, along with strengthened unemployment insurance, with $600 per week for people affected by the coronavirus and eligible for unemployment benefits according to CNBC.

Small businesses such as Boba Guys, a popular bubble tea chain founded in San Francisco, could use the help to stay afloat during the pandemic. Last week, Andrew Chau and Bin Chen, the owners, and founders of Boba Guys, were forced to lay off 400 employees and close their 17 locations due to the outbreak.

“We planned for a 12-week window; if this isn’t over by May, we might need a loan, or we’ll lose our business. Nobody is going to make it through this if it lasts through Memorial Day,” Chau said in an interview with the SF Gate

However, until a bill is passed, businesses and many Americans will continue to suffer and lose their income due to ongoing shutdowns within various counties and states.

“Senate Democrats look forward to working with them [Republicans] to come up with a bipartisan product as soon as we can as this crisis grows worse every day,” said Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader.


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