Fact Check: 60 Democrats Did NOT Vote Against Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fact Check: 60 Democrats Did NOT Vote Against Coronavirus Stimulus Bill False!

Did 60 Senate Democrats vote against a coronavirus stimulus bill, meaning nobody is getting checks? No, that's not true: For one thing, there are not 60 Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Second, the Democrats voted on March 22, 2020, against a key procedural vote that would have advanced the bill because they said they were unhappy with worker protections. However, even after a second vote failed March 23, negotiations were continuing on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill.

The claim originated in a post (archived here) published on Facebook by Sharon Fletcher on March 23, 2020. It opened:

The senate has BLOCKED the Corona stimulus bill. Nobody is getting checks. ALL 60 DEMOCRATS VOTED NO.

Remember this moment voters

Users on social media only saw this:

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 11.58.32 AM.png

This post contains a factual error and a false supposition. There are not 60 Democrats in the Senate. Instead, 60 votes were needed to advance the legislation from the procedural stage on March 22, 2020.

A day later, a second procedural vote that would have limited debate on the shell of a bill also failed. Democrats said they want to prioritize protections for workers above companies.

Five GOP senators are in self-quarantine or isolation, meaning that the 53-47 GOP majority in the Senate is currently reduced to 48-47. Lawmakers would need bipartisan support to reach the 60-vote threshold to move forward.

The post also suggests that a stimulus package is entirely dead in the water, and that Americans will not be getting any relief because of Democrat opposition. That is not true. Both sides are continuing to negotiate the terms of the deal, and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor that he was confident an agreement would be reached.

All the same, Democrats say they oppose giving corporate interests money without strings attached. According to The Hill:

Schumer said that there were still a 'few outstanding issues,' including hundreds of billions in aid to corporations that Democrats are calling a 'slush fund.' Democrats have also pointed to a provision they say would let [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin authorize loans or grants but not disclose the recipients for six months.

Senator Elizabeth Warren echoed those sentiments:

Even so, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the blame squarely at the hands of Democrats for the first procedural vote failing to advance:

A bipartisan stimulus package may well put cash into the hands of Americans, but both sides will first need to find common ground.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a sense of urgency for Congress to try to deal with the expected economic fallout. Goldman Sachs has projected that the Gross Domestic Product could drop by 24% in the second quarter of 2020, according to The New York Times.

Lead Stories has debunked many false stories surrounding the coronavirus. Here's a sampling of our stories:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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