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Senate Democrats filibuster Republican Covid-19 relief, insist on multi-trillion House bill

In a 51-44 strict party-line vote, the Republican amendment 2652 failed to get the 60 votes required to overcome the filibuster on Wednesday. It would have provided $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year, $100 billion for reopening schools and funding for more testing and vaccine development.

“If this relief does not pass, it will be because Senate Democrats chose to do Speaker Pelosi’s political dirty work rather than stand up for struggling people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said ahead of the vote.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) accused McConnell of playing “games” by putting forth an “emaciated” bill, and claimed it failed “because it leaves so many Americans behind.”

Democrats, said Schumer, are fighting for the HEROES Act to provide “real relief.” Republicans have opposed the $3 trillion measure, adopted in a party-line vote by the House in May, calling it a wish list of partisan priorities that have little or nothing to do with helping people affected by the pandemic.

“The American people are sick of the cynical political games Washington politicians are playing with this desperately needed economic relief,” Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) said in a statement after the vote, calling it “shameful” that Democrats blocked the bill “because it doesn’t include all of their partisan wish list.”

The Senate Republican Twitter account simply posted a meme showing the infamous moment when Pelosi (D-California) ripped up Trump’s state of the union speech, this time with the papers labeled with all the things that were in the blocked relief bill.

Pelosi has negotiated with the White House directly for the past several months, refusing to budge from the HEROES Act. On Wednesday, she told reporters she basically hoped that Trump would cave in to her demands and override any objections the Senate Republicans might have. 

“I wouldn’t even be having these discussions if we didn’t think the president had some sway as to whether the Senate would take this legislation up,” she said on MSNBC.

Earlier in the day, during a Sirius XM radio interview, Pelosi said that the president “needs this legislation.” 

Trump had walked away from the talks in early October, accusing Pelosi of not negotiating in good faith and holding the relief hostage. He has since said he would “immediately” sign a clean bill that would give Americans a $1,200 check. Meanwhile, facing pressure from fellow Democrats and the media to compromise, Pelosi has lashed out at reporters who dared bring it up.

Trump himself gave no indication he would surrender to Pelosi’s terms, tweeting on Wednesday evening that Pelosi and “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer” are focused on “BAILING OUT poorly run (and high crime) Democrat cities and states” instead of doing what is right for Americans.

“Should take care of our people. It wasn’t their fault that the Plague came in from China!” Trump added.

Immediately after the relief filibuster vote, Schumer once again moved to block the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court, arguing it’s too close to the election and therefore it would be “illegitimate.” The motion failed in a party-line vote.

On Monday, Schumer tried to adjourn the Senate altogether in order to stop Barrett’s confirmation, which is scheduled for Thursday in the Judiciary Committee and for Monday on the Senate floor.

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