On Tuesday, Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled a targeted coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package, a plan that is much smaller than what lawmakers on both sides of the aisle spent weeks arguing over. The bill, released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and commonly referred to as the “Skinny” bill, does not include any direct funding for state and local governments nor funding for another round of stimulus checks for Americans. However, it does contain a $300 per week federal unemployment benefit through the end of the year, another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding, liability protections, $105 billion for schools, and an additional $16 billion for coronavirus testing. Legislative language would also make a Treasury Department loan to the United States Postal Service, authorized under the CARES Act in March, forgivable.
On Thursday, the bill failed to receive the 60 votes needed on the Senate Floor to end debate and allow for a vote on the bill as-is. All but one Republican Senator voted to end debate (paramount to what the vote would be on the bill) and all Democrats voted “no”. It is unclear on the next steps are in Congress to provide another relief package. House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion plan in May, but that package has languished in the Senate as Republicans and the Trump Administration have expressed that its price tag is too large and is an over-reach on other policy matters that extend beyond COVID-19.