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Senate aims for Thursday vote on the scaled-down coronavirus aid bill

REUTERS/Erin Scott

The U.S. Senate later this week aims to vote on a drastically scaled-back Republican coronavirus aid bill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday, despite opposition from Democrats who are needed for any measure to be enacted into law.

The bill, which some senior Republican aides described as a $300 billion package that was reduced from the $1 trillion McConnell advocated in July, would face a vote on Thursday.

Barring a breakthrough, it could be the final attempt to pass a fifth coronavirus aid bill before the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections.

With Democrats holding out for a far more comprehensive bill to further stimulate the economy and help battle the coronavirus, McConnell said in a Senate floor speech: “We want to agree, where bipartisanship is possible ... and then keep arguing over the rest later.”

But House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has argued that a subsequent bill would be too far off to avert layoffs of police, fire, and medical personnel unless emergency aid is rushed to state and local governments.

Several attempts over the past several weeks to work out a deal between congressional Democrats and the Republican White House have so far failed, leaving the two parties more than $2 trillion apart.

The Democratic-controlled House in mid-May called for a $3 trillion bill.

Democrats called McConnell’s latest plan “emaciated,” dismissing it as a political stunt inadequate to respond to a pandemic that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans - more than in any other country in the world. More than 6.3 million Americans have been infected by the novel coronavirus, with millions thrown out of work as the economy contracted.

9 September 2020

News Source Reuters

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