Senate rejects dueling coronavirus bills as unemployment cliff looms

From The Hill:

The Senate on Thursday rejected two competing proposals for coronavirus relief as the deadline for extending enhanced unemployment benefits looms and Congress struggles to break an impasse over a fifth stimulus bill.

The floor drama comes as the $600 federal boost to unemployment benefits passed as part of the March bill is set to expire on Friday with no consensus in Congress about how to replace it.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) tried to pass a bill that would tie overall unemployment benefits to a two-thirds match to an individual’s previous wages, with the per week federal payment capped at $500.

…Under the Senate’s rules, any one senator can try to set up or pass a bill, but any one senator can also block it.

The dueling proposals are the latest sign of the lack of progress toward a bipartisan deal after days of negotiations between Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Caif.), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

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