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Sanders Vows to Hold up Coronavirus Relief Bill Over GOP 'Threats' to Hold the Bill 'Hostage'

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The Senate’s coronavirus relief bill has hit some roadblocks as senators have voiced disapproval with several provisions in it.

On Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared, “We’re going to pass this legislation later today.”

However, as details about the legislation came out, three Republican senators voiced opposition to a portion of the bill, which they said was a “massive drafting error,” as IJR has previously reported. 

Sens.  Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) released a statement on Wednesday afternoon calling for the provision to be “addressed.” Or for the Department of Labor to issue “regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working.”

The senators argued that the expansion of unemployment insurance would encourage businesses to lay people off. If the issues were not addressed, they said they would oppose fast-tracking the bill.

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In response to their statement, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vowed to hold up the bill:

“In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation. Unless these Republican Senators drop their objections, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund.”

Sanders explained, “This is a crisis. You have people who are worried about being evicted. They’re worried about not being able to pay their medical bills, pay their student loan bills, go take care of basic needs.”

“And you have Republican senators worry that these low-income workers like getting too much money from unemployment,” he added. 

Sanders added that his vow to hold up the legislation was in response to the Republican trio. He said, “If they don’t go forward, I won’t go forward.”

Additionally, he voiced frustration that the senators were trying to make changes bill, which was the result of days negotiations and compromise. 

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was optimistic that the Senate would approve the legislation.

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