(The Center Square) – For the second time in less than 24 hours, U.S. Senate Democrats blocked movement on a coronavirus relief plan that would funnel more than a trillion dollars to Americans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The more than $1 trillion package includes funding for small businesses that have been forced to shutter, direct deposits to Americans and enhanced unemployment benefits to help boost an economy on the brink of collapse.
But Democrats say there are not enough protections in the measure to guard against top business owners and operators from making millions off taxpayers backs.
The vote Monday was 49-46 largely along party line; 60 votes were needed to move the legislation forward. Sunday night’s vote was 47-47.
On the Senate floor Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scolded Democrats for not moving the package forward, saying there was still time to negotiate the final details before approval occurs.
“The markets are tanking once again because this body can’t get its act together,” McConnell said. “The country is out of time.”
Stocks dropped again Monday in early trading after wiping out all of the gains of the past three years the last two weeks.
The biggest dispute is over a proposed $500 billion in loans for businesses. Democrats want guarantees the funding goes to workers. Democrats also complained they were left out of writing the package.
Republicans say Democrats are stalling the relief efforts to get a political wish list of unrelated items, including guarantees for unions and climate change measures, into the legislation.
President Donald Trump supports the package.
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said House Democrats would file their own package.