A new Coronavirus relief bill has failed to gain traction in the Senate after a procedural vote on Thursday. The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, proposed up to $500 billion in funding for schools, Coronavirus testing, unemployment benefits, and small business loan packages.
Democrats Unhappy with “Emaciated” Relief Package
The Republican-backed bill failed to get the votes it needed to advance to a debate and a full vote on the Senate floor. 52 lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal, while 47 opposed. 60 votes are needed to advance the bill to the next stage.
The most notable inclusions in the bill were a $300 per week unemployment subsidy until December, $257 billion for a new Paycheck Protection Program, and $105 billion for schools reopening.
McConnell positioned the bill as a highly focused set of legislation that would tackle the immediate challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Democratic lawmakers were unhappy with the size of the package. It compares poorly to the $3.5 billion relief package that was passed in the House almost four months ago, which was then blocked by McConnell in the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that McConnell’s bill was “emaciated” and that Congress should “not have a skinny bill when we have a massive problem.”
No More Coronavirus Relief Bill Before the November Election?
With the stalling of yet another relief package in Congress, it’s likely that there won’t be any new Coronavirus relief until after the November Presidential Election. Legislators have failed to reach any kind of middle ground, with Democrats pushing for the largest relief package in history and Republicans taking the opposite approach with a smaller and more restrictive package.
Lawmakers do at least appear to be committed to avoiding a government shutdown after the current budget expires on September 30, but this won’t do much to offset the financial struggles of millions of Americans.
How Did the Markets Respond to the News?
Investors were optimistic that a new relief bill would stimulate the economy. The failure of this latest bill could now extend the market rout currently underway.
Major indexes were down on Thursday, even after the trading session started well with investors buying tech stocks on the dip. The Dow Jones dropped by more than 400 points after the latest news from Washington DC.
There are bargains to be found during this downturn, but the lack of action in Congress could weigh on market sentiment in the coming days.
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