Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Senate Democrats and Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked a GOP coronavirus bill on Thursday. Senators voted 52-47 on the $500 billion bill, the first coronavirus-legislation voted on since April.

The bill included:

  • Additional funding for the small-business loan program
  • Scaled-back unemployment benefits
  • Funding for schools and the U.S. Postal Service
  • Liability lawsuit protections for businesses, schools and health care providers

The measure did not include additional $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans. It also did not include new money for cities and states, which was a Democratic priority as municipal governments face potential mass layoffs because of decreased tax revenue.

Democrats said the measure shortchanged too many pressing needs. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said, “But (Thursday’s) bill is not going to happen because it is so emaciated, so filled with poison pills, so partisanly designed.” Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “We don’t want to go home without a bill, but don’t be a cheap date. When you are in a negotiation, the last place to get weak knees is at the end.”

Republicans were pessimistic following the blocking of the bill. When asked whether a pre-election stimulus is dead, Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby said, “It looks that way.” Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio warned that unemployment at smaller companies will climb. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes Democrats will “come back to the table.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

The Senate just failed to pass more stimulus for a struggling economy. Here’s why. – Vox – 9/10/2020
Since Thursday’s vote was a strategic maneuver aimed more at sending a message than producing actual policy, it wasn’t expected to pass to begin with. Instead, it was intended to give vulnerable Republican senators something to point toward as evidence they’ve backed more aid going into the election this fall.

Senate Democrats Block Coronavirus Stimulus Package – Daily Caller – 9/10/2020
The vote was 52-47, and the measure needed 60 votes to pass. The $500 billion bill would include a federal unemployment benefit, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and additional money for more coronavirus testing. If the bill was passed, money would have been directed to schools. Every Democrat voted against the stimulus package. The only Republican who voted against it was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Senate Democrats block $300 billion coronavirus stimulus package, leaving little hope for relief before November – USA Today – 9/10/2020
Senate Democrats blocked a $300 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill Thursday, dampening the prospects Congress will pass much-needed financial relief for Americans weathering the coronavirus pandemic ahead of the November election. […] After the chamber failed to move forward, senators voiced skepticism that any movement would be made on a relief package before the election.

Senate Dems kill GOP’s “skinny” coronavirus stimulus, 52/47 – Hot Air – 9/10/2020
It’s very clear what the Democrats’ grand strategy is in wanting to go big on a new stimulus, less clear what the GOP’s is in wanting to go small. But today’s vote on the $500 billion Senate Republican “skinny” stimulus is really just a blame game for both sides.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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