Senate fails to end debate on ‘skinny’ coronavirus aid package |

Senate fails to end debate on ‘skinny’ coronavirus aid package

The Senate Thursday failed to end debate on the coronavirus aid package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The vote was 52 to 47. The measure needed 60 votes to end debate.

Sen. Kevin Cramer,R-N.D., said in a news release, “The message from Senate Democrats led by [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] is clear: they would rather let people be hurt than give people help because they think it will give them an advantage in November.”

“Their argument seems to be that if we won’t give Democrats everything they want, the American people should get nothing at all. That is nonsense and unserious governing, resulting from blind partisanship and a hatred for President [Donald] Trump.”

Senate Democrats said the package, which has been described as “skinny,” was too small to provide meaningful aid.

The package included $20 billion for farmers and ranchers but no increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a key demand of Senate Democrats.

The failure to end debate and go to a vote means that the current Senate proposal is dead and the likelihood of passing another coronavirus aid package before Congress leaves at the beginning of October is low.

In the meantime, more than 160 groups organized by the Rural Coalition have sent congressional leaders a letter urging “immediate pandemic relief” to avoid “dire consequences for the American food, farm, and fish systems and the historically underserved communities that make them work.”

“With each day Congress fails to enact inclusive COVID-19 relief legislation for communities across the country, more and more people — and disproportionately immigrant families, essential workers, and people of color — are facing hunger, homelessness, and illness,” said Thomas J. Rachko Jr., acting advocacy officer, Human Rights Watch.

“Congress should take immediate action to protect the farmworkers, meat processing workers, and other essential workers who are risking their lives to feed this country.” ❖

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