I'm finding it hard to grasp the current status of the $2 trillion stimulus bill because news about the approval process frequently seem to contradict each other.

As far as I'm aware, Bernie Sanders has threatened to stop the bill after Senate had already approved it. How would this be possible? What is the bill's current status and which further steps are necessary to begin the payouts?

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    One issue is that things are moving pretty fast, that article is from 2 days ago. The bill was voted on and passed 96-0 in the Senate 1 day ago, the House is scheduled to vote today.
    – user5155
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 13:59
  • @JeffLambert The Senate actually passed it late Wednesday, not Thursday.
    – TylerH
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 15:23
  • @TylerH You are right, I'd edit the comment but it's outside the window.
    – user5155
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 15:31
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    You might also be confused by the fact that AOC and others threatened to derail the House vote. The intent was to do this as a voice vote for unanimous consent (meaning everyone agrees the bill will pass as-is so no point in belaboring the process), but all it would take is a single representative declining to force the bill to be put to a full and proper debate and vote. And Pelosi was jumping through hoops just to maintain social distancing for the voice vote. Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


That story is from 2 days ago before it passed and is no longer a relevant point.

The issue was that 4 republican senators stalled the bill to try to weaken unemployment benefits. Sanders made a counter-threat to stall the bill if they didn't withdraw their objections, to prevent the Senate from giving in to their objections.

Sanders objected to an amendment proposed on Wednesday afternoon by Senators Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and Tim Scott (R., S.C.) that would cap unemployment benefits at a worker’s previous salary level.

Sanders, AOC Threaten Delays on $2 Trillion Economic Stimulus - National Review

"Unless Republican Senators drop their objections to the coronavirus legislation, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund," Sanders declared, shortly after Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC), Tim Scott (SC), and Ben Sasse (NE) threatened to delay the Senate bill.

Sanders Threatens to Demand Stronger Conditions on $500 Billion 'Corporate Welfare Fund' If GOP Moves to Reduce Benefits for Laid Off Workers - Common Dreams

In the end, a compromise was reached where the Republicans were allowed to propose an amendment to weaken unemployment benefits, it was voted down, and then the bill was passed unanimously.

They were given a vote on an amendment to pare back the unemployment benefits but the measure failed on the Senate floor Wednesday shortly before the bill's final passage.

Senate Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package - NPR

At this point, the bill has passed the Senate and, assuming the House approves it as is (which they are expected to), the Senate has completed its role in its passage.

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    Just adding sources: from the left and on the right. (Both say the same thing, Republicans wanted to weaken unemployment benefits, but Sanders argued against that.) Senate roll call: senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/…
    – BurnsBA
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 14:21
  • @Mikethetall Really? It’s working for me. That’s strange. …
    – divibisan
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 18:42
  • Huh. It's working me now, too. I'll delete the comment saying otherwise Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 1:47

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