The Senate will vote on a massive $2 trillion relief bill late Wednesday or early Thursday, after a last-minute fight over a projected unemployment provision postponed proceedings on Wednesday, individuals familiar with the situation told CNBC.
The Senate declared it had arrived in a bargain early Wednesday morning, after days of bitter partisan divide. Leaders expected to quickly track the deal to President Donald Trump’s desk.
However, since the Senate worked through finalizing the text of the bill, four Republican senators — Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rick Scott of Florida — voiced their opposition. They contended a proposal to include $600 a week to unemployment insurance for up to four weeks — a core provision of the near-final legislation — could encourage businesses to lay off workers and Americans to remain unemployed. They’ve urged a vote to cap the help.
Sasse filed an amendment to the bill Wednesday evening. The change, which the senator also registered behalf of his three GOP colleagues, says weekly unemployment help might not “exceed the amount of the individual’s average weekly wages for an appropriate period” before having received it.
Despite the projected vote, it remains unclear whether it is going to pass. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Wednesday that he would postpone the bill when his GOP colleagues didn’t drop their resistance. A bill has already collapsed two key provisional votes.
However, the change might wind up as largely symbolic. Tim Scott said he’d still back the laws but wished to have the opportunity to vote on an amendment. He explained “I plan to support this legislation tonight, but I do want to fix it first.”
It has to get beyond the Democrat-led residence. Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Wednesday criticized the GOP senators for their resistance to the legislation.
“Please don’t resent our lowest-paid workers in America for getting $600,” she explained.