Democrats block key vote on $2 trillion coronavirus bill on Monday

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SUAB HMONG NEWS (03/23/2020) – While the increasing COVID-19 effecting the American population each hour, the democrats blocked a $2 trillion coronavirus bill for the second day.

The vote Monday was 49-46.  Falls short of the 60 vote threshold needed to advance the legislation for a final debate.

Democrats have argued that the Senate GOP bill is disproportionately tilted towards helping companies and needs to extend more benefits to families and health care providers.  Republicans have countered that the bill — which would send checks to many individual Americans while creating giant loan programs for small businesses and industry — offers unprecedented financial assistance to the entire economy and needs to be passed before more people lose their jobs.

Democratic concerns have focused on the $500 billion funding program for loans and loan guarantees Republicans want to create, which some Democrats are labeling a “slush fund” because the Treasury Department would have broad discretion over who receives the money. There is little precedent for a program with a similar size and scope.

The huge economic stimulus bill now under negotiation is Congress’ third attempt to address the coronavirus crisis. As the scope of the crisis started coming into focus early this month, Congress passed $8.3 billion in emergency spending for the public health system. Then Mnuchin and Pelosi negotiated a $100-billion-plus package that included paid sick leave, a Medicaid expansion, free vaccines and more, which the Senate passed last week despite misgivings voiced by many Senate Republicans over the structure of the paid sick leave program.

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