Senate returns with a path to nowhere on coronavirus aid

Republicans are eager to raise the pressure on Democrats, but their latest gambit may fall short.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other top Senate Republicans have been scrambling to round up votes for a narrow economic stimulus package they could put on the floor and hammer Democrats for opposing. The $500 billion-plus proposal includes $300-per-week federal unemployment payments on top of regular state benefits, another round of funding to aid small and medium-sized businesses, liability protections for businesses, schools and charities, and $105 billion for education, among other provisions.

But some Senate Republicans want to include language related to “school choice” programs, complicating the process for McConnell and party leaders. As of now, McConnell doesn’t even have 51 votes for the Republican proposal, according to GOP senators and aides, let alone the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.