By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The two U.S. senators representing Wyoming expressed disappointment in the Senate’s defeat Wednesday of a second coronavirus stimulus package.
U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso were two of 44 senators who voted to pass the bill through the Senate on Wednesday. A majority of Republicans voted to pass the bill, while a majority of Democrats (51 total senators) who voted it down.
Five senators, including vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, chose not to vote on the bill.
The relief package would have reopened and re-funded the Paycheck Protection Program for certain small businesses, along with providing an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits, more funding for vaccines and testing, coronavirus liability protection for schools and businesses, assistance for scholarship-granting organizations and funding to help childcare providers reopen and stay open.
It also included a provision intended to reduce America’s reliance on China and other nations for critical minerals, including rare earth minerals.
Barrasso blamed the defeat on U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
“Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have made it clear that they will continue to block coronavirus relief,” Barrasso said. “They think it gives them a better chance of winning the election. This is a calculated political decision by Democrats in Congress. The American people deserve better from people who claim to represent them.”
Enzi was more reserved in his statement, expressing disappointment but also hope that the two parties could come together and pass a bill to help the American people.
“This package would have provided real relief for folks across the country, like providing more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and supporting childcare providers,” Enzi said. “The American people are looking to us for help and all we are delivering is stagnation. I hope we can get to work to provide the assistance needed to weather this pandemic before our constituents and the economy suffer even more.”