Sanders’ fight with GOP senators over unemployment aid threatens to delay coronavirus stimulus

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference in Burlington, Vermont, U.S. March 11, 2020.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

A planned Senate vote on a historic $2 trillion relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic looked murky Wednesday as senators threatened to delay it over a key unemployment insurance proposal.

Earlier in the day, four Republican senators — Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rick Scott of Florida — threatened not to support the chamber’s push to pass the rescue package through fast-track procedures. They argued a plan to add $600 per week to unemployment insurance for up to four months, a core provision of the near-final legislation, could encourage companies to lay off workers and Americans to stay unemployed. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., then said he would hold up the bill if his GOP colleagues did not drop their opposition. 

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