Bernie threatens to stall relief package in fight with GOP Senators over unemployment benefits

Fox News reports Bernie Sanders said Wednesday afternoon he might torpedo the Senate’s compromise stimulus package unless Republican senators dropped their objections about what they called a “massive drafting error” related to unemployment benefits, in the latest twist to a process that has been marked by delays and last-minute hurdles.

“In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation,” Sanders said in a statement, also posted on social media.

“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 continued.

An objection by 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.

Then, late Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said unanimous consent was a nonstarter in the House, and implied that quick passage in the lower chamber may be unrealistic. Pelosi has called for members to have at least 24 hours to review the bill text once it’s available.

“That’s not gonna work,” she told reporters shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET, 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.”

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