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In a 47-47 vote, Senate Democrats blocked a critical $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package on Sunday. The move sent futures markets plummeting by over 5%. According to the Washington Examiner, the Democrats have stalled the plan to pass the bill by Monday and send it to the House for a vote.
President Donald Trump and congressional leaders hoped the measure would send a signal that would help stabilize the stock market and U.S. economy amid fears of recession as economic analysts estimate unemployment levels could hit up to an unprecedented 30% in April-June with GDP contracting by 50%, figures not seen since the Great Depression.
The bill included trillions in aid for working families and small businesses
Democrats blocked a package that includes direct cash payments averaging around $3,000 per family ($1,000 per adult and $500 per child), as well as an expansion of unemployment benefits and over $850 billion in loans to small businesses and industries directly impacted by the deadly pandemic that has brought the U.S. economy to a grinding halt.
As recently as Saturday, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) was hailing the measure as bipartisan, but Democrats sang a different tune on Sunday, arguing the relief amounted to a “slush fund” for corporations. Republicans blasted the Democrats for playing politics at the expense of American taxpayers.
“You’d think the nonsense [Bernie Sanders] class warfare rhetoric would take a break for a minute during a pandemic,” a Senate source told RealClearNews. “Corporations employ Americans. This is about keeping their jobs, not corporate executives.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted Democrats’ obstruction in a fiery Senate floor speech. “The notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and the American people is utterly absurd,” he said.
“We’ll have this…vote again at some point of my choosing and hopefully some adults will show up on the other side of the room and understand the gravity of the situation and the need to act before the markets go down further and the American people become even more depressed about our lack of ability to come together under the most extraordinary of circumstances,” McConnell said.
McConnell also noted that Democrats would not have been disadvantaged if they had allowed the bill to proceed in its current form and further negotiations would have still been possible.
“If this vote had succeeded…it would have required potentially 30 more hours of discussion during which negotiations could go on as long as they would like,” he said.