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House Democrats block latest Republican effort to pass a coronavirus relief bill

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

House Democrats blocked a Republican-led move to reconsider a coronavirus relief bill Thursday, the 40th time the majority party has blocked a package of GOP stimulus bills from passing the chamber.

Republicans urged the House to vote down procedural rules on an unrelated piece of legislation to allow for debate on Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Chabot’s proposed bill to reopen the Paycheck Protection Program, but the effort failed.

The failure also means that Americans will likely have to wait longer for some type of government relief. Congress has not passed a stimulus since March, and has been unable to agree on an additional stimulus package even though temporary unemployment benefits passed to mitigate the economic effects imposed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic expired in July.

Republicans are also pushing for signatures on a discharge petition, filed by Washington State Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, which would force consideration of Chabot’s bill. The petition has been cosigned by 185 Republicans needs 218 votes to pass.

In September, 23 moderate Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer urging them to “continue bipartisan negotiations” in order to “deliver meaningful relief for the American people,” but their message was ultimately unsuccessful.

Though it seemed at times like Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who has negotiated on behalf of President Donald Trump and Republicans, were close to reaching a deal, no compromise has been reached.

While Pelosi has argued for a stimulus exceeding $2 trillion, congressional Republicans have supported plans that provide closer to $1 trillion. Pelosi has also rejected multiple Republican proposals and a $1.5 trillion bipartisan deal reached by the House Problem Solvers Caucus.

Though Trump has called for a large stimulus plan, any Democrat-led plan that passes the House would likely fail in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the vote on House floor Thursday did not relate to the discharge petition, which is still open to signatures from members of the House of Representatives.
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