Hopes were high after the Senate and the White House announced they had reached a deal on a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package for Americans affected by the Wuhan coronavirus. But those hopes fizzled out after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened another delay on the vote. Then four Republican senators noticed a "massive drafting error" that would result in "a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work."
But there were more issues where those came from. Sen. Bernie Sanders saw the Republicans' threat and raised them one of his own. In his eyes, the current bill is one big corporate bailout.
Unless Republican Senators drop their objections to the coronavirus legislation, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund. pic.twitter.com/7X0o9C4BoO— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 25, 2020
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy pushed back at that narrative in his Wednesday press conference, pointing out all the dollars that will be directed to help small businesses.
Despite the "dickering," as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called it, the signs suggest they plan to vote very soon.
Fox is told they aim to have legislative text on the coronavirus bill soon. Then they will try to structure the rest of the evening.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 25, 2020
Fox is told there could be two votes tonight. One would likely be sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) which would fail. Then final passage.
Speaker Pelosi also signaled that once the Senate bill passes, the House will have 24 hours to consider it before voting. So maybe, just maybe, Phase Three will pass Thursday evening.