No Deal Reached On Stimulus Bill

Enzo Goebel, Staff Writer

Amidst growing fears that the coronavirus will throw the country into a recession is a massive stimulus bill at the center of the chaos. On Mar. 22, the bill was blocked by Senate Democrats, who did not agree with their Republican counterparts, arguing that the bill gives the Treasury Department too broad of discretion over who receives financial aid.

While negotiations are set to continue in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement, the initial procedural vote fell short—47 in favor and 47 against—of the 60 votes needed to pass the stimulus bill. It should be noted that five Republicans were unable to vote because they were either self-quarantined or in isolation for COVID-19. 

The bill, which aims to provide nearly $1.8 trillion to businesses and households, will also create a $500 billion fund in loan money. The fund is a major point of debate in the legislation and has been labeled a “slush fund to boost favored companies and corporate executives while they continue to pull down huge paychecks and fire their workers” by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) along with other Democrats.

Tensions are running high at this time, both around the country and between the two leading parties. On his view of Republicans, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said, “They’re throwing caution to the wind for average workers and people on Main Street and going balls to the wall for people on Wall Street.” 

Officials warned of catastrophic effects on the stock market should an agreement not be reached by Mar. 23. In six weeks, the stock market has lost 10,000 points, and it is suspected that more than 3 million people have filed for unemployment benefits as of last week. The unemployment rate could reach 30% somewhere between April and June, reported Bloomberg News, as a result of massive layoffs.

The bill, proposed by majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Mar. 19, could give considerable financial relief to many Americans. The Senate GOP legislation would devote $350 billion to small businesses and send checks of $1,200 to most Americans. Furthermore, about $100 billion would be set aside for hospitals, and $250 billion for state unemployment insurance programs. 

Even so, it seems that a resolution is far off. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has suggested that House Democrats release their own bill. The Washington Post speculates that this could lead to the Republican-led Senate and Democrat-led House on two very different tracks. With more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases reported worldwide and the number still rising, hopefully the Senate will come to a resolution sooner rather than later so that Americans have something to look forward to.


Photo courtesy of WBTW.COM