Republicans Senate

Senate Republicans fail to advance coronavirus stimulus bill as stalemate drags on – CNBC

The Senate failed Thursday to advance a Republican coronavirus stimulus plan, the latest blow to stalled efforts to pass another package to mitigate the pandemic’s economic damage. 

The measure fell short of the 60 votes needed on a procedural step to move toward passage. All Democrats present, and one Republican — Rand Paul of Kentucky — opposed it in a 52-47 vote. The nearly unanimous vote for the GOP followed weeks of disagreements within the Republican caucus about whether to pass any more aid at all. 

The legislation would have reinstated enhanced federal unemployment insurance at a rate of $300 per week, half of the $600 weekly payment that expired at the end of July. It also would have authorized new small business loans and put money toward schools and into Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. 

The measure did not include a second $1,200 direct payment to individuals. It also lacked new relief for cash-strapped state and local governments or money for rental and mortgage assistance and food aid — all priorities for Democrats. 

“It is beyond insufficient. It is completely inadequate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said of the GOP plan earlier Thursday.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R heads toward the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 8, 2020.

Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., brought the measure to the Senate floor this week as efforts by the Trump administration and Democratic leaders to strike a bipartisan relief agreement remained stalled. He aimed not only to show that Republicans, and particularly vulnerable GOP senators running for reelection this year, were taking action to fight the pandemic, but also to put pressure on Democrats ahead of Election Day. 

“They can tell American families they care more about politics than helping them,” McConnell said of Democratic senators who oppose the bill. 

Congress has failed to pass a fifth coronavirus aid package even as the outbreak infects tens of thousands of Americans per day and economic pain felt by millions of jobless people sharpens. Lifelines including the jobless benefits, a federal moratorium on evictions and the window to apply for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans have all lapsed. 

While President Donald Trump has taken unilateral steps to extend temporary unemployment aid to some Americans and limit evictions for a few months, only Congress can pass comprehensive relief because it controls federal spending. 

Doubts have grown about lawmakers’ ability to approve any more stimulus during the heated final weeks before the 2020 election. Even so, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday she is hopeful Congress can pass another bill before the Nov. 3 election. 

Asked Wednesday about whether another relief bill would come together, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded, “I don’t know.” 

“We’ll see. I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there,” the top Trump administration negotiator in aid talks said. 

As Republicans try to hold on to their 53-47 Senate majority in November, every GOP incumbent running this year supported the aid package. The most vulnerable Senate Democrat, Doug Jones of Alabama, opposed it. 

So did Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tina Smith of Minnesota, all of whom will face voters this year in states where the 2016 election was close. 

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expects Senate

GOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal | TheHill – The Hill

Senate Republicans said on Tuesday that they expect to be in session next week as negotiations on a fifth coronavirus bill appear to be at an “impasse.”

The tentative plan, described by GOP senators leaving a closed-door lunch, means the Senate will be in Washington, D.C., for at least the first week of a previously scheduled four-week break that had been expected to start on Friday.

“We have been told we would likely be back next week, unless we somehow finish this week,” said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Pelosi to require masks on House floor MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE (R-Ky.), told reporters that “we’ll be in session next week, if we don’t get a resolution this week.”

The House left town last week. House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Fauci gives his COVID-19 vaccine estimate Congress rightfully rejects dangerous effort to cut defense budget by 10 percent MORE (D-Md.) has said he will call House members back to Washington with a 24-hour heads-up once there is an agreement ready for a vote.

The negotiations are between Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMeadows: ‘I’m not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term’ on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he’s considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread MORE (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House MORE, leaving most lawmakers to get updates from reporters and leadership.

Asked why the Senate would stay in town if most aren’t directly involved in the talks, Cornyn added, “How do you think it looks for us to be back home when this is unresolved? This is the most important thing we need to be doing.”

McConnell hasn’t announced a change to the Senate’s schedule. Asked about being in session next week, a spokesman for the GOP leader said, “the Leader will let everyone know when we have an update and / or guidance.”

Negotiators say they are making progress in the most recent talks on Saturday and Monday but they still remain far apart on significant sticking points like unemployment insurance, state and local aid and McConnell’s red line of liability protections for businesses.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby33K laptops meant for Alabama distance learning are stuck in customs, could be held until October Senate GOP opens door to smaller coronavirus deal as talks lag Overnight Defense: Senate GOP coronavirus bill includes .4B for Pentagon | US, Australia focus on China in key meeting MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told reporters after a closed-door lunch with Mnuchin and Meadows that the talks are at an “impasse.”

“Nothing’s happened,” he added.

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Alabama Senate

Who won Alabama Senate runoff? Tommy Tuberville beats Jeff Sessions for GOP nomination –

Alabama Republican Senate hopeful Tommy Tuberville awaits primary runoff results on Tuesday night.

Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated ex-US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Tuesday night’s runoff for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Tuberville, who was making his first run for public office, will face Democrat Doug Jones in November.

The Associated Press called the race at 8:19 p.m., a little more than an hour after polls closed. With 774 of 2,281 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Tuberville garnered 88,015 votes – or 62% – to Sessions’ 53,277 or 38%.

You can see complete election results here.

You can see detailed Senate results here.

The race pitted Tuberville – who was backed by President Donald Trump – vs. Sessions, who left the Senate before being named the Trump administration’s Attorney General in 2017. Sessions resigned a year later after fall out with Trump over the AG’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions defended his decision while on the campaign trail.

“You know, I don’t focus on regrets,” Sessions said. “I say my prayers and try to do the right thing. I think Donald Trump has been a president who has advanced the interests and values that I believe in. As attorney general, President Trump and I had one disagreement.”

The first statewide referendum held amid the coronavirus pandemic, turnout for Tuesday’s primary was extremely light in most places. Secretary of State John Merrill originally predicted turnout as high as 22% but modified that down on election day to 15-10%.

Tuberville will face Jones in the Nov. 3 general election.

Tuberville eyes big step toward becoming next Alabama senator

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Judiciary Senate

Senate Judiciary hearing on race and policing practices amid civil unrest – Reuters



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The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to examine issues involving race and policing practices raised by the death of George Floyd and the civil unrest that has swept the U.S.


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McConnell Senate

McConnell says Senate ‘not quite ready’ to craft new stimulus: ‘It won’t be a $3 trillion left-wing wish list’ – Fox News

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Thursday that the Senate is “not quite ready to intelligently” lay out the next coronavirus stimulus package, but added “it’s not too far off.”

“The [CARES] Act, which passed a month or so ago on a bipartisan basis, only about half of that money has gone out yet,” McConnell said. “I think there’s a high likelihood we will do another rescue package, but we need to be able to measure the impact of what we’ve already done, what we did right, what we did wrong [and] correct that.

“Let me tell you what it won’t be,” McConnell added. “It won’t be a $3 trillion left-wing wish list as it passed the House.”


The majority leader went on to say that lawmakers “need to work smart here, help the people who are desperately in need, try to save as many jobs as possible and begin to open up the states, which are decisions by the governors that are going on all over America now and get this economy growing again.”

With that in mind, McConnell said any new stimulus package would not include enhanced unemployment benefits.

“The problem was by paying people more not to work than to work, it’s making it difficult to get people back to work. You can understand that,” McConnell told MacCallum. “We do need to continue unemployment insurance, [it’s] extremely important at a time like this.

“But to pay people more not to work than to work doesn’t encourage resuming your job. And that will end in July. And we think that in order to create jobs, we need to incentivize people to go back to work, not encourage them to stay home.”

The senator also reemphasized the need for businesses to receive liability protections in any future stimulus.

“You’re going to have liability protection in there so that people, or the plaintiffs’ lawyers are prevented from stealing, in effect, all of this public money we’re sending down to hospitals and doctors and non-profits as a result of the coronavirus,” McConnell told MacCallum. “And so that’s one of our red lines, that the next bill will need to have liability protection in there just to cover narrowly cover the coronavirus, not anything else.”


McConnell also responded to criticism that such liability provisions would shield nursing homes and care facilities where coronavirus victims died from legal action

“Well, the answer is it wouldn’t protect any nursing home from from a gross negligence or intentional misbehavior [claim],” McConnell said. “So it’s not an absolute protection against any kind of behavior. So those kinds of lawsuits would still lie.”

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