Senate adjourns without passing COVID bill before Election Day

Grace Segers
·2 min read

The Senate has adjourned until after Election Day, making it increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass a coronavirus relief bill before then. After confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, a priority for Republicans and President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until November 9.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating for weeks over a relief bill, inching closer to a deal which could reach to $2 trillion. But they remain at an impasse over certain key issues, such as funding for state and local jurisdictions. The House also passed its own $2.4 trillion bill, which has not been taken up on the Senate floor.

Senate Republicans proposed their own $500 billion legislation, which was blocked twice by Democrats, who argued that the bill did not go far enough to address the needs of the American people. On Monday evening, McConnell blamed Pelosi for being unwilling to compromise with the White House.

"We have been working on coronavirus relief. Unfortunately, the speaker has not been able to agree to anything remotely reasonable," McConnell said in an interview with Fox News.

He had previously said that if Pelosi and Mnuchin were able to reach an agreement, he would bring their proposal to the Senate floor for consideration. However, CBS News confirmed last week that McConnell told Senate Republicans that he had warned the White House against reaching an agreement on a coronavirus relief bill ahead of the election.

Senate Democrats attempted to bring the House bill to the floor on Saturday, but this effort was blocked by Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer excoriated Republicans on Saturday for focusing on confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court instead of working on a deal to provide coronavirus relief.

"We should be doing that, not rushing through this nomination while people are voting, and want their choice listened to, not the Republican Senate choice," Schumer said.

Over 225,000 Americans have died from the virus, and millions have lost their jobs due to the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. Provisions passed by Congress earlier in the spring to aid struggling Americans have expired, such as a popular unemployment insurance benefit. The adjournment of the Senate also means that Americans are unlikely to see another direct payment of $1,200 ahead in the near future.

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