WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The coronavirus stimulus package hit an unexpected snag in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday afternoon.
Republicans like Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado started the day by urging quick passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package and asking democrats not to drag their feet.
“The Senate will approve this bill today and the House must approve it without delay, no excuses,” said Gardner.
But it was a group of Republican senators who stalled the process midday over what Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called an error in the actual text of the bill that would give workers a raise to take unemployment.
“The American people do not think you should get paid more money to not work than to work,” Sasse said.
Senators were at odds over other provisions in the bill, including $500 billion in loans that are available to large corporations.
“A couple days ago, I called this the slushiest of slush funds,” said Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Merkley said Democrats were able to secure more oversight of the loans and restrictions that businesses owned by government officials cannot borrow from the taxpayer-funded program.
“I’m not saying it’s perfect,” Merkley remarked. “I’m still concerned there’s not enough up-front guidance that prevents this from being used in a political fashion.”
The historic stimulus package also includes many programs both parties agree on, like help for small businesses that are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“It basically reimburses the small businesses for 100% of the workers’ wages,” Merkley said.
Lawmakers say those provisions will help small businesses keep employees on payroll and quickly get back to business once the crisis eases.