Senate fails to advance $1.4T coronavirus emergency package

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:40 PM PT — Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Senate has failed to move forward with the $1.4 trillion ‘phase three’ stimulus package, which was aimed at helping businesses and Americans impacted by the pandemic.

Senators voted 47 to 47 on Sunday, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) casting the 48th nay vote that ultimately blocked its advancement.

Democrats argued the bill included several “non-starters” and walked back critical areas of agreement, including unemployment insurance.

The vote had also moved forward with five GOP senators absent.

In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly writing up her own bill.

A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The bill would provide over $1 trillion worth of emergency aid to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation, which has been negotiated tirelessly in Congress, was broken down into three parts to detail where the money will go.

The first category was individuals and families.

Lawmakers have said they plan to enact new paid family and medical leave programs. Direct checks would also be sent to all middle and low-income workers.

There was also a bipartisan agreement to increase unemployment benefits and expand the eligibility for unemployment.

“To go on existing unemployment insurance won’t work,” stated Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It’s hard to access, it doesn’t cover a whole lot of people and, furthermore, it doesn’t pay back workers’ full wages they were earning.”

The next category was small businesses.

Lawmakers have said they will initiate a lending program for small businesses. As part of the program, loans will be forgiven if they are spent on maintaining payroll to employees.

Congress members, in conjunction with the Treasury and the Fed, have also outlined the creation of a large credit facility, which will ensure financial markets can carry on and that businesses can get temporary credit.

According to lawmakers, “it’s essential people have a job to go back to when we get through” the virus outbreak “as soon as we possibly can.”

Nurses at a drive-up coronavirus testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center talk to a person arriving to be tested as they sit in a car Friday, March 13, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The final group Congress will be offering financial assistance to are healthcare providers and hospitals. The government is planning to send resources directly to these facilities, in order to help their ability to research therapies, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

“Every single American who has opened a newspaper or turned on the television in the last week has heard from our brave nurses, doctors, first responders and public health experts,” said Sen. McConnell. “If our nation is going to punch back and beat this virus, the people on the medical front lines need our help and need it now.”

The Senate majority leader has said the Senate will not leave Washington until a deal for the aid is passed.

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