Chances for a planned Senate vote on a historic $2 trillion relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic appeared to dwindle Wednesday as senators threatened to delay it over a key unemployment insurance proposal.
Earlier in the day, four Republican senators — Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rick Scott of Florida — threatened not to support the chamber’s push to pass the rescue package through fast-track procedures. They argued a plan to add $600 per week to unemployment insurance for up to four months, a core provision of the near-final legislation, could encourage companies to lay off workers and Americans to stay unemployed.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., then said he would hold up the bill if his GOP colleagues did not drop their opposition. He said he is “prepared to put a hold on this bill” to lobby for tighter restrictions on companies receiving aid from a taxpayer pool of $500 billion.
The prospect of an impasses in the Senate at the end of Wednesday’s session. Investors hoped Congress could quickly approve the legislation, which gives direct payments to Americans, loans to businesses large and small and resources to states and hospitals to fight the outbreak.
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