Senate Democrats block $1.8 trillion coronavirus aid bill

Daniel Fowler
March 23, 2020

On Sunday, a proposed $2 trillion stimulus bill in a key procedural vote fell well short of the 60 votes needed to advance through the Senate.

Democrats said they were close to an agreement with Republicans and predicted a modified version would win passage soon.

A vote in the Senate is now expected at 1 p.m. "This is not a juicy political opportunity".

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer suggested the vote would again fall short unless the measure included more guardrails to avoid misuse of the $500 billion earmarked to help struggling industries. He said the upcoming vote would be "irrelevant" if negotiations were not complete.

Tempers frayed as Republicans accused Democrats of obstruction during a national emergency.

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Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who can not self-isolate at home. President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that a countrywide lockdown will come into effect on Thursday.

The Dow was trading down about 350 points on Monday morning. He did not give specific.

The loss comes after stock market futures fell overnight Sunday into Monday.

Among the provisions of the $1.6 trillion Senate bill were $75 billion for hospitals across the country and $1,200 checks to every American making below $75,000 a year, as well as financial aid to businesses that have been forced to indefinitely shut down in the interest of containing the virus' spread. But reports emerged Monday that Democrats are also pushing for the inclusion of measures entirely unrelated to the coronavirus response, including "unprecedented collective bargaining powers for unions", "increased fuel emissions standards for airlines", and "expansion of wind and solar tax credits". But the coronavirus threat has affected their ranks.

The vote came hours after the first senator, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, and some other Republicans said they were self-quarantining because they had been in contact with him. Republicans only mustered 47 votes in a procedural vote on Sunday.

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