BY: TRISH TURNER and ALLISON PECORIN, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Democrats roundly defeated a slimmed-down GOP proposal for COVID-19 relief Thursday, a move that almost certainly means the end of coronavirus funding efforts through Election Day. The vote was 52-47.
GOP leaders were able to get at least 51 of their members to support the legislation, a reversal of political fortunes from July when about half of the conference rebelled against a $1 trillion package, but it is unclear what happens now.
Casting their proposal as a “targeted” approach to COVID-19 funding aimed at addressing areas that both Democrats and Republicans agree on, like schools, unemployment assistance and coronavirus testing, Republicans said they hope that Democrats might now come to the negotiating table to hammer out a bipartisan solution.
When asked about next steps, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Well, I hope the Democrats will get back to the table. It’s time to get something done for the American people.”
Democrats, decrying the $300 billion GOP plan for what they said were “poison pills,” like taxpayer help for students to attend private schools and a lawsuit shield for businesses, said it was time for Republicans to understand that trillions more were needed to help Americans through the crisis.
The GOP plan included $105 billion for schools and a two-year tax credit for school choice, as well as, $29 billion for vaccines and $16 billion for testing. It also provides additional funding for the paycheck protection program with the possibility of loan forgiveness for small businesses.
Unemployment benefits of $300 a week to individuals who have lost their jobs were part of the proposal, but popular $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans were left out.
Democrats have also demanded more money for schools, state and local governments, food security, unemployment assistance, and election security needs.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made clear that Democrats had no plan to support the bill, which he has repeatedly referred to as “emaciated,” said he hoped that in defeat, a compromise might be found.
“If past is prologue, once the Republicans see they can’t intimidate us into voting for a wildly insufficient bill, they may come to the table and do what needs to be done,” Schumer said.
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