Demanding changes, Democrats block first Senate step on Coronavirus bill

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After two days of talks failed to produce a final bipartisan agreement on an economic stimulus and bailout bill to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, Senate Democrats on Sunday evening blocked a procedural move to start work on the bill, as Democrats accused the GOP of putting forth a package which favored business over workers.

"In our caucus there is great unhappiness," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "This is not a bipartisan proposal, this is a Republican-only proposal."

Democrats accused the GOP of creating a $500 billion "slush fund" for corporate bailouts, arguing there was little transparency which would allow the public to find out what companies were getting federal money.

Democrats also said not enough resources were being put in the bill to help hospitals deal with the strain from the Coronavirus outbreak.

"That's what we're fighting for right now," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

60 votes were needed to force an end to debate on a motion to start work on the Coronavirus bill.   Republicans only mustered 47.

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Republicans were left more than frustrated, as GOP Senators said now was the time for action, not more negotiation and debate.

"The American people are watching this spectacle," said a furious Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who denounced Democrats for 'playing games' by not agreeing to move forward with the GOP bill.

"The Senate must step up," said Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA). "It is time to deliver."

“I hope the Senate can act fast on something,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Republicans were hamstrung somewhat by the absence of five GOP Senators, because of Coronavirus concerns.

On Sunday morning, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tested positive for the Coronavirus - though he had no symptoms of any illness.

That prompted two other Senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, to go into self quarantine, joining Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).

It was not immediately clear what would happen next in the Senate.

“It is unbelievable that Democrats would stall the relief bill,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).

“We're fiddling here,” said Sen. McConnell, as he all but accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of ruining talks for a deal.

“We were doing just fine until that intervention," McConnell said on the Senate floor, visibly irritated.

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