The “Phase Three” COVID-19 stimulus package came in front of the Senate on Sunday, but that’s where it stopped.
The $1.4 trillion package would support businesses and individuals that have been impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic, but the Senate couldn’t agree to move forward with the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the bill failed to progress because Democrats reneged on their commitment to the bipartisan agreement after influential Democratic lawmakers interceded to disrupt the bill’s passage.
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McConnell blasted Democrats for disrupting the process. He said House Speak Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took a week off in order to “pour cold water on the whole process.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), whose state has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, also did his best to disrupt the proceedings.
“The build-up to this is that we had a high level of bipartisanship over the last 48 hours… And then, all of a sudden, the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up…and we’re back to square one,” McConnell said in reference 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.”
McConnell will try to put the bill through another vote on Monday at 9:45 AM, 15 minutes after the stock market opens, in order to see if there’s a change of heart. McConnell hopes lawmakers will reconsider their stance on the legislation ahead of the vote. “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,“ said McConnell in a statement to reporters.
Despite the second chance, it’s doubtful that the left will reverse its course. Now, the Democrats say they will draft their own version of a relief package, despite the fact that the House just returned from a weeklong break. Democrats seem to be trying to exert influence over the proceedings by dragging their heels, but they’re doing it at the expense of the American people who are in dire need of economic relief.
Shortly after news broke that the Senate couldn’t move forward with the bill, the National Republican Senatorial Commitee (NRSC) released a statement chastising Senate Democrats for blocking the bill. The statement accused the Democratic lawmakers of using “partisan fervor to thwart a critical coronavirus relief package while our country faces a crippling pandemic.” The statement called on Democratic senators to “prove they aren’t beholden to their chief benefactor Schumer and disavow Senate Democrats’ unthinkable decision to fillibuster.”
Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak has been spreading like wildfire, and the resulting disruption to day-to-day life has cripple the U.S. economy. Jobless claims skyrocketed last week, and many laid-off workers are looking towards Washington for relief. On Monday morning, the stock market appeared to be heading for another day of major losses, and the widespread selling is likely a reaction to the Senate’s inability to act on the relief package. At this point, any hopes of avoiding a recession have been snuffed out by political incompetency.
Lawmakers need to act fast in order to keep cash flowing for millions of workers whose employment has been disrupted by the pandemic. Businesses and hospitals also need immediate financial relief.
Instead of coming up with a plan, Democratic lawmakers went on vacation while Republican worked around-the-clock to come up with solutions. Now, they want to further delay much-needed relief by coming up with their own plan from scratch, with no explanation for why they waited all week to before gettings started.
This is partisan politics at it’s absolute worse. The American people need relief from the economic impact of this pandemic, and Capitol Hill is too busy nit picking to get anything done. Hopefully, voters will remember which senators delayed the relief package on Election Day, because the people are the only ones who can hold these incompetent lawmakers accountable for their inaction during this national crisis.