In order to meet the needs of tens of millions of Americans who are struggling to afford basic expenses amid the ongoing public health and economic crises, Sanders said the Senate must urgently approve a relief package that taxes recent billionaire wealth gains to extend Medicare coverage to all for a year, provides $2,000 per month in direct payments to every working class person in the USA for the duration of the pandemic, and extends the $600 weekly federal unemployment supplement that the GOP allowed to expire at the end of July. All the Democrats and one Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against the bill. The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, was campaigning in Miami and missed the vote.
'Well, looking to the House and for that matter our colleagues across the aisle - it's a sort of a dead end street, and very unfortunate, but it is what it is, ' Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. "But it is what it is". But that version was too big for most conservatives, so the GOP bill was instead stripped back to focus on school aid, jobless benefits and help for small businesses.
For now, Republicans and Democrats - even though there's bipartisan support for additional stimulus payments - can't agree on a funding measure.
So far, the coronavirus has led to the deaths of almost 191,000 people in the United States and over 900,000 globally. "The outcome of the election promises to have an outsize impact on what might be possible in a postelection lame-duck session, with Democrats sure to press for a better deal if Democrat Joe Biden unseats President Donald Trump", The Associated Press wrote.
"If past is prologue, there's actually a significant chance that the public heat on many Republican senators as they go back home will have them come to their senses, and they'll start negotiating with us in a serious way", Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote.
Added benefit of COVID precautions: 'Pretty much non-existent' flu cases
The vaccine is typically found to be 40 percent to 60 percent effective in preventing illness. Millions of Americans typically count on employers to offer flu shots , usually in October.
The Senate Republicans' proposal would have funded unemployment insurance, child care and coronavirus testing, and it would have created liability protections for businesses, schools and churches operating during the pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in his rebuttal reiterated his attack on the bill as "emaciated".
He again blasted Democrats on Thursday, saying they are still pushing a liberal wish list and are willing to scuttle provisions with widespread backing to deny Trump a victory. Democrats and Republicans haven't been able to negotiate a new deal over the past four or five months, so it's easy to assume they won't be able to put their differences aside now. Top lawmakers and aides offered glum assessments both publicly and privately. 'I won't be optimistic on this if we get through the next two weeks without finishing it up'.
"With today's partisan vote failing, I am hopeful we can immediately come together to pass a bill that helps the West Virginians who need it like we did six months ago on March 27th", he said.