The Senate again failed on Oct. 21 to advance $500 billion COVID-19 relief legislation, the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act (S.178).
The 51-44 procedural vote fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation to the Senate floor. This marks the Senate’s second attempt to pass relief legislation, the first of which failed a procedural vote in early September [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 11].
The legislation, introduced by Senate Republican leadership and nearly identical to the bill considered in September, is a narrower package in comparison to both the more comprehensive Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (Heroes) Act (H.R. 6800) passed by the House in May [see Washington Highlights, May 15] and the slimmed down Heroes Act approved by the House in October [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 2].
S. 178 includes liability protection measures; $258 billion in small business loans; $29 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund within the Education Stabilization Fund; $47 billion for testing, vaccine, and therapeutic development; $300 in weekly unemployment benefits; and other programs.
Negotiations on another COVID-19 relief package also remain stalled as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have been unable to agree about its size. The last relief package signed into law was the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139) [see Washington Highlights, April 24].