Senate set to vote on coronavirus stimulus bill Wednesday night

The Senate is planning to vote on a massive $2 trillion relief bill late Wednesday or early Thursday, after a last-minute fight over a proposed unemployment provision delayed proceedings on Wednesday, people familiar with the situation told CNBC.

The Senate announced it had arrived at a deal early Wednesday morning, after days of bitter partisan divide. Leaders hoped to fast track the deal to President Donald Trump’s desk.

But as 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 argued a proposal 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. They have urged a vote to cap the aid. 

Sen. Sasse filed an amendment to the bill Wednesday evening. The amendment, which the senator also filed behalf of his three GOP colleagues, says weekly unemployment aid may not “exceed the amount of the individual’s average weekly wages for an appropriate period” prior to having received it.

Even with the planned vote, it remains unclear whether it will pass. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Wednesday that he would delay the bill if his GOP colleagues did not drop their opposition. A bill has already failed two key provisional votes.

It still has yet to get past the Democrat-led House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Wednesday criticized the GOP senators for their opposition to the legislation.

“Please don’t resent our lowest-paid workers in America for getting $600,” she said. 

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