Bernie Sanders said he might torpedo the Senate’s compromise stimulus package unless Republican senators dropped their objections about what they called a “massive drafting error,” according to Fox News.
The “massive drafting error” would actually incentivize companies to lay off workers in order to collect unemployment, which isn’t the intention of the stimulus bill.
Sanders said, “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 to make sure that any corporation receiving financial assistance under this legislation does not lay off workers, cut wages or benefits, ship jobs overseas, or pay workers poverty wages,” he added.
Here’s how the Senate vote may work out, according to Fox News:
If a single senator would prevent the Senate from quickly passing the bill by unanimous consent, although it remained possible that the chamber could pass the legislation by voice vote or roll-call vote. Fox News is told lawmakers are leaning toward approving the bill via voice vote, in which senators in the chamber shout “aye” or “nay,” with the loudest side winning.
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Senators Ben Sasse, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham told Fox News in a statement, “A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences.”
“Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work. This isn’t an abstract, philosophical point — it’s an immediate, real-world problem”.
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“This isn’t who we are as Americans; this isn’t what we do in a crisis. We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill until this text is addressed, or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working,” the statement reads.
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said unanimous consent was a nonstarter. “That’s not gonna work,” she said, referring to unanimous consent. “Republicans have told us that’s not possible from their said. … What I’d like to see — because this a $2 trillion bill — I’d like to see a good debate on the floor.”
Pelosi has called for members to have at least 24 hours to review the bill. It appears that Pelosi would like to see a debate on the House floor.
More from Fox News:
Fox News has been told repeatedly in the 6 p.m. ET hour that the “hope” continues to be to advance the bill for a vote Wednesday night in the Senate. But, the Senate still doesn’t have bill text, nearly 18 hours after an agreement was announced at around 1 a.m. ET Wednesday morning. Even then, senators would still have to agree as to how to handle the bill on the floor — dictating whether there is any debate, amendments and how or when senators would actually vote on the measure. The upshot is that a House vote may be delayed to Friday at the earliest.
The concern from Sens. Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, R-S.C., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., is that the current version of the bill could pay workers more in unemployment benefits than they’d make in salary, by sticking a $600 per week payment on top of ordinary benefits that are calculated as a percentage of income. This could disrupt the labor market further, the lawmakers warn.
Senator Graham: We may be at the one yard line, but apparently there are 20 people on defenseVideo
Graham shot back at Sanders’ latest warning in a series of posts on Twitter. “Only in Senator @BernieSanders world does it make sense to pay people more NOT to work than TO work,” Graham wrote. “I am all for making peoples salaries whole. However, I am not for increasing people’s salary through the unemployment insurance system.”
Democrats and economists have countered that the point of the new unemployment benefit is, in fact, to make peoples’ salaries whole, and that companies could simply raise wages to compete and attract workers.
“The weird thing about this hypothetical ‘generous unemployment pay will discourage people from entering critical industries’ is… they could just raise wages?” Alex Godofsky wrote on Twitter. “Amazon has already raised wages. Like, it’s okay if wages – and prices – go up for a while. It’s fine.”