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No deal as Senate takes procedural vote on coronavirus package

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.) delayed an initial vote related to a mammoth coronavirus stimulus package until later Sunday as a deal over the bill remains elusive.

McConnell moved the vote on a "shell" bill, which the text of the stimulus package would be added to, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m on Sunday. 

The decision comes after McConnell had appeared determined to move forward even as Democrats fumed over the stimulus bill being circulated by Republicans. 

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"The risks to our country grow every single day that we do not act. ... That’s why we are going to hold our first procedural vote in just a few minutes," McConnell said from the Senate floor less than an hour before punting it until early evening. 

If McConnell moved forward with the procedural vote at 3 p.m., Democrats were all but guaranteed to block it by denying McConnell the 60 votes needed to move forward. 

“In my view, right now it would be giving people unrealistic hope to proceed now. We should let people know immediately that Republicans have taken a U-turn,” said Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.), describing why he would vote against cloture.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters that he informed McConnell that Democrats could not support the coronavirus package as currently drafted. 

"Early this morning, Leader McConnell presented to us a highly partisan bill written exclusively by Republicans," Schumer said. "The legislation had many, many problems." 

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Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Pelosi, Mnuchin push stimulus talks forward, McConnell applies brakes Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Ill.) added that it would be a "serious mistake" for McConnell to hold the vote at 3 p.m. 

“We are pleading with McConnell not to call this vote,” he said.

Senators appear to be making an eleventh-hour effort to try to get a deal after a meeting between the top four leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE failed to break the stalemate. 

“There are issues that have not been resolved. There are serious issues. We hope that we can get them resolved quickly,” Schumer said after the closed-door lunch.

McConnell told reporters that he delayed the vote at Schumer's request and to give negotiations more time.

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"The talks are continuing, and Sen. Schumer asked for a couple of hours, and I thought it was a reasonable request," he said.

But the hurdles to getting a deal are steep. 

Democrats have outlined a litany of problems with the GOP stimulus package as currently drafted, arguing that it doesn't expand paid sick leave and includes hundreds of billions for corporations and raising concerns that it walks back agreements they thought had been reached on expanding unemployment insurance. 

"Right now, people are very unhappy about the Republicans have put forward. ... The overall view is that they want to create a slush fund for giant corporations," Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Democratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race MORE (D-Mass.) told reporters after the lunch.