Coronavirus stimulus bill fails to move forward, McConnell cites ‘obstruction’

National News

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes a statement about a coronavirus aid package, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 13, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A vote to advance the massive coronavirus stimulus bill failed on Sunday night in the Senate, as negotiations so far had yet to produce a deal on the more than trillion-dollar aid package.

Republicans, who needed 60 votes to move forward on the bill, weren’t able to win over any Democrats to proceed, meaning that no aid will flow to the economy — including checks to individuals, help for small businesses and bailouts for big corporations — until a deal is reached.

Democrats said they dissatisfied with worker protections in the bill, which was written by Republicans, and say the rules on corporate bailouts are too lax.

“We’ll see what happens, I think we’ll get there,” President Donald Trump said at the White House moments after the measure failed to advance. “We have to help the worker, we have to save the companies.”

After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sought to have the vote reconsidered at a later time.

“The Speaker of the House (Pelosi) shows up and we’re back to square one,” McConnell said, blaming Democrats for “obstruction.”

The stalemate unfolded after top Democrats said Sunday they’re not yet ready to sign off on the major coronavirus stimulus package — and will be preparing their own legislation — as Congress attempts to ready the bill for passage as soon as Monday.

Just before an 11 a.m. meeting between the top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that “from my standpoint, we are apart.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters ahead of the meeting that “we need a bill that puts workers first, not corporations” and declined to say whether he supports the current bill.

Leaving Sunday’s meeting, Pelosi said that she will introduce her own legislative package but that “we are still talking” with Republican leaders. She said that at this point, however, there is no bipartisan deal.

The meeting came hours before a critical procedural vote on the Phase III bill, the text of which has not yet been released. McConnell had delayed the vote from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Sunday to give congressional leaders more time to hammer out the details.

Just before Sunday morning’s meeting, Democrats revealed what they are still opposed to in the stimulus package. According to a person familiar with the negotiations, Democrats say the language would allow for corporations to keep bailout money while still firing workers, that the bailout money would have virtually no restraints and that there are very weak stock buyback restrictions.

A senior Democratic aide told NBC News that Democrats are concerned that the bill lacks specific provisions to protect people from evictions, foreclosure or forbearance and that it would allow for only three months of unemployment insurance.

Click here to read more from NBC News.

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