Fact Check: Did Democrats Block COVID Relief 40 Times as Republicans Claim?

Nearly nine months after Congress unanimously passed the CARES Act, the bipartisan spirit has been absent from Capitol Hill, and Republicans are putting the lack of further relief at the feet of Democrats.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle have called for additional stimulus to help Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic. Democrats and Republicans put forth plans of their own, but they've yet to see eye-to-eye on the best path forward, with Democrats criticizing Republicans' packages for being insufficient, and Republicans balking at the price tag of Democrats' plans.

One thing the two sides seem to agree on is that the other is to blame for the delay in getting relief into the pockets of their constituents.

The Claim

"Democrats blocked key aid for small businesses and American workers 40+ times," a graphic shared on social media said. GOP legislators, committees and the GOP shared similar sentiments, as well.

Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats continue to block targeted COVID-19 relief that will help American families, workers and businesses. Enough with the partisan political messaging bills #LetsWork. pic.twitter.com/gGgSGUz7vp

— Rick W. Allen (@RepRickAllen) November 30, 2020

Democrats have blocked COVID-19 relief 40+ times. @HouseGOP is ready to pass necessary COVID relief. #Letswork pic.twitter.com/e5ibzfAEXd

— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) December 5, 2020

Over and over again, Democrats have BLOCKED Republicans’ attempts to pass a commonsense relief bill that could actually be signed into law to help the American people. It’s time the Democrats show up, get to work, and make a serious effort to help people during the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/0fYddsFOYV

— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) November 30, 2020


Senate Democrats have blocked coronavirus aid and House Democrats have blocked Republican efforts to re-open the Paycheck Protection Program 40 times.https://t.co/goCPOOpyjp

— GOP (@GOP) December 1, 2020

Pelosi has spent MONTHS blocking commonsense COVID relief for her far-left wishlist...

And Democrats have blocked unused PPP funds to help small businesses 40 times...

Now they’re focused on marijuana and protecting exotic animals?

It's time to put the American people first.

— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) December 3, 2020


Democrats can't be bothered to take up a bill that provides real relief for workers and families, but they have found the time and the votes to pass legislation legalizing pot.

The American people deserve better. pic.twitter.com/K6EVqDOMDi

— Ways and Means GOP (@WaysandMeansGOP) December 8, 2020

The Facts

At the top of the Republicans plan for aiding people impacted by the pandemic is another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Two bills—H.R. 8087 and H.R. 8265—introduced by Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) would reopen the PPP for another round of relief. H.R. 8265 would reopen the program with funding from the CARES Act and 8087 would expand the program with new funding.

On five occasions, Republicans vowed to bring up the PPP bills—once for 8087 and four times for 8265—for consideration if the previous questions were defeated. Democrats passed the question on all occasions, most recently on Thursday, when they voted in favor of bringing the legalization of marijuana to the floor for a final vote. Had legislators defeated the previous question, it would have given Republicans control of the floor and the ability to bring H.R. 8265 up for consideration.

nancy pelosi stimulus block relief
Republicans criticized Democrats for blocking COVID-19 relief 40 times. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on December 4 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer

On October 1, 35 Republican members of the House of Representatives made individual unanimous consent requests during a debate over a $2.2 trillion relief bill to bring H.R. 8265 up for consideration. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) would not yield her time for the purpose of unanimous consent, so the request could not be entertained. Since Scanlon said she had "no intention" of yielding her time for the request, it was clear the following 34 requests would be rejected, as well.

Republicans also attempted to force a vote on the bill through a discharge petition but failed to gather the support necessary when no Democrats signed it.

In the Senate, Republicans twice have tried to pass a targeted relief measure but had their efforts thwarted when they failed to reach the 60 votes needed to overcome the Democratic filibuster.

Democrats also passed two versions of the HEROES Act that included funding for the PPP. In May, only one Republican, Representative Peter King, voted in favor of the bill and in October it received no Republican support.

The Ruling

Mostly true.

Technically speaking, Republicans have tried more than 40 times to bring another round of relief to businesses and workers. However, it's not as straightforward as Democrats voting against the bill.

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