Senate Democrats Block ‘Skinny’ $500 Billion GOP Relief Bill

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Senate Democrats blocked Republican’s attempt to pass a $500 billion ‘skinny’ coronavirus relief package Wednesday while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to negotiate.

The GOP relief package was almost identical to the one that failed to pass several weeks ago. Like that measure, this one failed by a 51-44 vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed. While Democrats call Republicans cheap and Republicans call Democrats reckless with their spending, millions of Americans continue to wait in long lines at food pantries and small business owners continue to sweat and hope the government reaches a deal on the next package.

The failed Senate bill, which was obtained by Business Insider, included a $300 federal unemployment benefit, a second round of PPP funding, and liability protections for businesses. The bill did not include a second round of $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check or aid to states.

The first coronavirus relief bill that passed in April included money for states, a $600 federal unemployment benefit, PPP funding, and a $1,200 stimulus check for young adults and families.

Pelosi and Mnuchin met again Wednesday to discuss a second coronavirus relief bill. Both have said concessions have been made on both sides.

“I’m optimistic. There will be a bill,” Pelosi told MSNBC Wednesday. “The question is, is it in time to pay the November rent—which is my goal—or is it going to be shortly thereafter and retroactive.”

However, both President Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have tried to stall negotiating attempts before the election, almost ensuring a new deal won’t be reached before Nov. 3.

House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package last month and a $3 trillion package in May, however, the Senate hasn’t so much as entertained the idea of taking either bill up for a vote.

While both sides continue to point fingers, Americans are running to the polls in record numbers to take their frustrations out on politicians. Florida and South Carolina have already shattered records for early voting and according to ABC News, at least 31 million votes have been cast so far in the election.