Lexington, K.Y. – On Sunday, Senate Democrats and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement for aid to the US economy. Self-imposed deadlines passed as no agreement could be made. Finally, the vote was put to the Senate floor which ended in a 47-47 vote. For clarity, 60 votes are needed in order to pass the measure. Some votes were missing on the Republican side, however. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) both have decided to self-quarantine after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has tested positive for COVID-19.
In the proposed legislation, many measures were suggested to help the sagging economy through the coronavirus crisis. Direct cash payments to families and billions of dollars to support businesses and hospitals was in the legislation. Yet, Democrats refused to vote yes to the measure. This comes after multiple Republican concessions on the bill. One has to ask, why? In a time where some form of relief is needed for Americans, the Democrats are holding up the legislation.
One reason for holding up the measure was stated as poor oversight of the $500 billion slated for business support. Democrats argue that the measure does not have enough oversight. In other words, it’s not difficult enough for small businesses to get ahold of the money. While Democrats argue that they are trying to make sure the support gets to small business, many small businesses will fail if the government regulations are too large to complete timely. One Senator that spoke out against the measure was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-M.A.).
I will vote against a giant slush fund that protects favored corporations and executive paychecks with no meaningful protections for workers. If this isn’t fixed, all Democrats should all stand together and vote no. We maintain our negotiating power when we unite together.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 22, 2020
Sen. Warren, who is known to have a plan for anything that may come up, says she has a plan for this as well. Rather than working to get something immediate to address the need, she is more interested in battling corporate CEO’s and continuing to push for student debt cancellation.
I have called for a grassroots stimulus to actually provide immediate, direct, and sustained relief to families. It has a lot of pieces like paid family leave, student loan debt cancellation, and Social Security benefits. You can read more here: https://t.co/VQ4BpCBOTF
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 22, 2020
I absolutely agree that there needs to be some form of safeguard against the funds being used for CEO pay and bonuses, but that should be easy to implement. The problem is that Democrats are so focused on their pandering they cannot see through it. They want to waive student debt, waive housing responsibilities, give away free salaries and more. This is not what should be happening right now. If they cannot agree on the larger package, they should be working towards a smaller one and continuing to negotiate on the larger points.
But we continue to see the disfunction of our government before our eyes. Small businesses are ailing. American workers are struggling. Our government is still arguing like a bunch of kids rather than acting like adults. The White House had hopes of this legislation being signed by President Trump on Monday, but now that seems impossible. Both sides agree that something needs to be done quickly, but cannot agree on some of the basics.
We voted no on the McConnell-GOP bill because among other problems it includes huge bailouts without protections for people and workers and without accountability, and because it shortchanges our hospitals and healthcare workers who need our help.
These changes need to be made.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 22, 2020
Democrats have tried to label this bill as the McConnell-GOP bill, but that’s not entirely accurate. Republicans had already conceded additional funding for unemployment insurance payments and for billions for the healthcare system. Both of these were Democrat requests. Democrats are treating this relief plan as a way to get all of their wish list included, rather than focusing on the big picture of people that need help.
I understand that we have a significant partisan divide in our country. It’s no secret that Republicans and Democrats differ on ways to benefit the economy. You would think that everyone in Congress sees the need to get something done, especially as their own members are being stricken with the virus. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. It’s time to put partisan rhetoric aside to look at the actual issues. I agree, demand some oversight of the $500 billion in help. But this is not the time to make things more difficult on small businesses. These businesses account for almost half the US workforce. These businesses deserve the attention and support in a time like this.
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