Senate approves second Coronavirus relief measure

Next is massive stimulus bill for U.S. economy

Already more focused on negotiations over a large economic stimulus plan, the Senate on Wednesday sent President Trump an over $100 billion dollar measure that forces health insurance companies to provide free testing for the Coronavirus, boosts food assistance programs and expands emergency unemployment benefits to deal with a growing negative impact of the virus on the U.S. economy.

"Workers who get laid off or have their hours cut to almost nothing need expanded unemployment insurance," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). "Yesterday, the Secretary of the Treasury reportedly told Republican Senators that unemployment could hit 20 percent."

While Republicans weren't thrilled with the details of the House-passed bill, especially a new plan to force small businesses to provide sick leave to employees.

"I will vote to pass their bill," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "This is a time for urgent bipartisan action, and in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers."

Votes in the Senate - which are usually 15 minutes in length - were extended to give Senators more time to appear in waves, and not congregate on the Senate floor.

"I would encourage everyone, take full advantage of the 30 minute roll call vote," McConnell told his colleagues. "Come in and vote, and leave."

Behind the scenes, GOP lawmakers and the White House were trying to finalize the details of a third Coronavirus relief measure, which could pair direct checks to Americans along with billions in bailout money for the airline industry and more.

But there were lawmakers who weren't sold on the idea of sending out checks to millions of American families.

"I don't think that you and I need a $1,000 check," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). "I think there's an awful lot of people in America that still have a job, even if they're working from home, that basically it's not going to change their life with that $1,000 check."

The White House was also running into opposition in both parties over the idea of bailouts for the airline industry and more.

"Let me be clear," Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wrote in an op-ed, "we should not bail out large corporations that have enjoyed years of growth and prosperity. I won't support it."

A key ally of President Trump, Scott has publicly complained that not enough is being done in terms of testing for the virus.

"Every county in the U.S. should have a mobile testing center up and running by Friday," Scott wrote on Twitter. "No excuses.”

His statement on the bailout also signaled the difficulty in forging a massive stimulus package, as Democrats said they would also press for reforms in the airline and banking industries to be part of those packages.

It wasn't clear when the White House would officially unveil the next stimulus plan, or when it would get a vote in the House and Senate.

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