Senators threaten to delay coronavirus relief bill with last-minute objections

Marco Green
March 26, 2020

Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Wednesday that they will oppose fast-tracking the emergency bill until a "massive drafting error" pertaining to unemployment benefits is fixed.

The Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate said he would hold up the bill for stronger oversight on the $500 billion to aid hard-hit industries.

"A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating effect: Unless the bill if fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work", they said in a statement. The minimum wage in the state is US$7.25 an hour. So if we had the ability to customize this with much more specifics, we would have.

He said that would "destroy what's left of the economy".

But a spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and one of the primary negotiators of the provision, rejected those arguments.

However, a GOP aide pushed back on the senators' concerns, telling the Hill that "nothing in this bill incentivizes businesses to lay off employees, in fact it's just the opposite".

The senators said at a press conference they hoped the provision, which was going through the legislative process on Sunday, was the result of a drafting error. A defeat for his amendment would clear the way for a late-night vote on the larger bill, he said.

Graham's amendment would cap unemployment insurance payments at 100 percent of the worker's prior wage.

Sanders added that his vow to hold up the legislation was in response to the Republican trio.

Sen. Bernie Sanders responded to the group of Senate Republicans by threatening to put a hold on the legislation to demand more conditions of his own.

"Let's not over-complicate this".

The Senate's coronavirus relief bill has hit some roadblocks as senators have voiced disapproval with several provisions in it. So we use $600 across the board.

Some of the people involved in the talks had anxious that capping the temporarily increased unemployment benefits to workers' previous earnings would be too technically hard and significantly delay money for individuals at the height of the virus-driven economic shock.

"This isn't who we are as Americans; this isn't what we do in a crisis".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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