Along with last week’s roll call votes, the Senate also passed the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act (H.R. 4771), to permit appellants to appear in cases before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals by picture and voice transmission from locations other than facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs; and the Department of Veterans Affairs Website Accessibility Act (S. 3587), to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on the accessibility of websites of the Department of Veterans Affairs to individuals with disabilities.


CORONAVIRUS SPENDING DEBATE: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on the motion to consider the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. A supporter, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., said: “We are in a rapidly changing environment with each passing day that requires this immediate and substantial action.” An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill “includes a large corporate bailout with no protections for workers and virtually no oversight. Also, very troubling in the bill are significant shortfalls of money that our hospitals, states, cities, and medical workers desperately needed.” The vote, on March 22, was 47 yeas to 47 nays, with a three-fifths majority required to end debate.
YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine
NAYS: Angus King, I-Maine

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), that would have capped unemployment benefits provided by the bill at the level of wages that were received by a given unemployed individual before losing his or her job. Sasse said the provision was needed to avoid “a perverse incentive for men and women who are sidelined to then not leave the sidelines to come back to work” because their benefits exceed what they had been earning. An amendment opponent, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the higher level of benefits would help ensure that unemployed families “can keep their homes, pay their utility bills, put food on the table, and put the money back into the economy.” The vote, on March 25, was 48 yeas to 48 nays.
NAYS: Collins, King

CORONAVIRUS SPENDING: The Senate has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. The bill would spend about $2.2 trillion on measures to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including health care, direct payments to consumers, unemployment benefits, and loans and grants to businesses. A supporter, Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, said the spending was needed to “save millions of jobs of those employed by small businesses, and help prevent a devastating recession, perhaps even a depression, in this country.” The vote, on March 25, was unanimous with 96 yeas.
YEAS: Collins, King


The House voted Friday in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748).

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