Jones votes to pass strengthened Senate’s third COVID-19 relief package

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, March 26, 2020

On Wednesday night, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL, voted to pass the Senate’s third major COVID-19 economic relief package.

The bill failed to earn enough votes on Sunday evening, spurring the negotiations into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jones was among the U.S. Senators who voted against a procedural motion to advance the third installment of the bill on Sunday, citing its “lack of assistance for working people and those who need relief the most” as his reason.

“We need a strong, bipartisan package that directly assists our workers, our health care providers, and vulnerable folks who need it most,” said Jones after voting against the procedural motion on Sunday. We have no time to waste, so I am hopeful that this failed vote reiterates the message to Leader McConnell that the time for games is over and we need to move tonight to a bill that can receive broad support from the Senate and also pass in the House. We’ve got more work to do on this bill to make sure we’re not leaving working families behind.”

The Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) promptly condemned Jones for his decision to vote against the procedural motion the following Monday.

“[Jones’s] ‘no’ vote Sunday night has had serious ramifications on the people of Alabama and our country,” said ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan. “The Democrats helped craft this emergency unprecedented legislation and then, like Charlie Brown and the football, yanked away desperately needed help for America.”

In a video uploaded to Twitter on Wednesday, the Senator said the final drafting of the relief package, “though not a perfect bill”, has “a lot of good things”.

“I’m relieved that we were able to continue negotiations to create a bipartisan package that meets Alabama’s critical needs and provides money for the millions of folks who have been laid off across the country. From robust funding for hospitals and community health centers, to loans and grants to small businesses to keep their doors open and workers employed, this bill will provide help for the people in Alabama who need it most,” said Jones, who is a member of both the Senate health and banking committees. “While this is another major step to provide relief for Americans who are struggling right now, Congress and the Administration must continue to work to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus and to provide working people and small businesses with the help they need to keep their heads above water.”

Jones said new provisions in in the final bill not included in Sunday’s package included an additional month of unemployment insurance, more money for hospitals and health care providers, increased funding for state and local governments, support for students and schools and additional assistance for small businesses