A procedural vote to advance the estimated $1.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package failed the Senate 47-47, lacking the 60 votes needed, according to a Sunday (March 22) Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report.
Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the deadlock and will reconvene at 12 p.m. on Monday (March 23).
Democrats opposed Republicans’ move to earmark $500 billion to help the business sector by way of government loans and investments, more than double the amount the Treasury had solicited.
Democratic leaders want to add additional benefits to help the nation’s workforce by extending unemployment to 16 weeks at 100 percent pay. They also want more assistance for hospitals and state and local municipal governing bodies.
“They’re trying to advance a proposal that would be great for giant corporations and leave everyone else behind,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Approximately $75 billion would aid struggling businesses, according to the proposed legislation seen by WSJ. The travel industry — air carriers, air cargo and suppliers — would get aid, along with necessary infrastructure. The other $425 billion in aid could be extended for loans and loss prevention measures.
In addition, the stimulus package could designate billions to assist government departments and programs over-stretched by increased demands for services. An estimated $75 billion could benefit medical providers, covering expenses or reduced revenues directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, the draft legislation indicated.
The bill would also send one-time checks — $1,200 for adults and $500 for children — to help people who lost jobs due to the virus.
The package also includes billions for various programs including nutrition assistance, veterans, and the Centers for Disease Control. Money would also be set-aside for vaccines and treatments.
In advocating for a stimulus package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly said is the government doesn’t intervene fast, unemployment could soar to the 20 percent mark. A 20 percent unemployment rate is about the same as it was during the Great Recession.