FACT CHECK: Did 44 Senators Vote Against Sending Americans Coronavirus Stimulus Payments?
An image shared on Facebook over 4,100 times claims 42 Democratic senators, plus two Independents, voted against sending direct payments to Americans as part of the coronavirus economic stimulus package.
While Democratic senators voted against moving the bill forward in earlier procedural votes over policy concerns, the Senate passed the final version unanimously.
The image displays the names of 44 senators, all Democrats except for Independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, alleging they “voted NOT to send stimulus checks.”
President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27 a $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package aimed at softening the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic. That economic stimulus package included $300 billion in direct payments to American taxpayers.
However, the post’s claim is inaccurate. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on March 25, The New York Times reported. Whoever created the meme likely mistook one of the earlier procedural votes on the stimulus package as the final vote.
In the days before the final vote, the Senate was roughly divided along party lines over some appropriations in the bill. Among the sticking points were oversight on the $500 billion earmarked for distressed corporations, worker protections and unemployment insurance, per CNBC. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described the $500 billion fund as a “giant corporate bailout fund with no accountability – you wouldn’t even know what loans were made until six months later,” according to Vox.
In a 47-47 cloture vote on March 22, the Senate failed to get the 60 votes necessary to move the bill forward, with all 45 of the Senate Democrats voting against the motion. The same motion failed again in a 49-46 vote the following day. (RELATED: Did Trump Tweet That He Won’t Send Coronavirus Stimulus Checks To People Who Tweet ‘#NotMyPresident’?)
The Senate eventually reached a bipartisan agreement, which included stricter oversight on the $500 billion allocated to distressed corporations and municipalities, and passed the bill on March 25. Two days later, it passed in the House, before being signed into law.
Millions of Americans have since received $1,200 payments from the federal government as part of the stimulus package, according to The Washington Post.
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