Senate to vote Thursday on GOP coronavirus bill

Greg Nash
The Senate will vote Thursday on a scaled-down GOP coronavirus relief bill. 
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, as he headed to his office off the Senate floor, that he expected a vote on Thursday. 
The timeline comes after McConnell indicated in a statement earlier this week that a vote could take place “as soon as this week.” Because McConnell is expected to tee up the bill on Tuesday, the earliest a vote could have taken place was Thursday. 

“Republicans are making yet another overture. Today we’re releasing a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis, issues where bipartisanship should be especially possible,” McConnell said during a Senate floor speech. 
The bill will need 60 votes to overcome Thursday’s procedural hurdle, something it is not expected to get. 
McConnell did not respond to a question about if he thought he would be able to get 51 votes from Republicans. He previously estimated that up to 20 GOP senators wouldn’t support any additional coronavirus relief. 
But GOP leadership has been working to shore up Republican support for the new measure. At roughly $500 billion it’s approximately half of the $1.1 trillion bill previously introduced by Republicans in late July. 
The Republican bill includes a $300 per week federal unemployment benefit through the end of the year, another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding and liability protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

It also includes $105 billion for schools and an additional $16 billion for coronavirus testing. Legislative language would make a Treasury Department loan to the Postal Service, authorized under the CARES Act in March, forgivable.

The bill includes some priorities pushed for by conservatives including two years of the tax credits Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed in his Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act. 
Democrats aren’t expected to support the bill. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated earlier Tuesday that the GOP bill is a non-starter. 
“Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere. If anyone doubts McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill. This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement
Tags Charles Schumer Coronavirus COVID-19 Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Relief Ted Cruz
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