Fact check: Not true that no Democrats voted for coronavirus stimulus package

The claim: A meme claims that no Democrats voted in favor of a coronavirus stimulus package

A meme that went viral on Facebook states: "Not ONE DEMOCRAT, not ONE ... voted for the Stimulus package." It was posted late on March 22.

USA TODAY has reached out to the Facebook user who posted the meme and has yet to hear from him.

Senate votes

Let's look at what votes had occurred on coronavirus-related legislation at that time.

That evening, the Senate was stalled on a coronavirus economic stimulus bill, failing to pass an initial procedural hurdle by a 47-47 party-line vote. The motion needed the votes of at least three-fifths of the full Senate, or 60 votes. 

The vote at hand is called cloture – a procedural vote to move forward with debate on an under-discussion stimulus package and toward a yea or nay for final approval. 

Speaking on the Senate floor before the March 22 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested the final bill was not yet ready, saying “discussions continue on the package.”

McConnell, R-Ky., set up a vote anyway, one that was doomed to fail without Democratic support. His effort was also hurt by the absence of five Republican senators who were self-quarantining.

The cloture vote came up again on March 23, and failed 49-46, with Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama voting to move the stimulus package forward.

Days of bipartisan negotiations followed those votes, leading to the $2 trillion economic stimulus package working its way through Congress on March 25.

Earlier coronavirus votes in Congress

Before debate over stimulus packages, Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, two bills aimed at coronavirus relief.

A funding bill, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, was introduced in the House on March 4, passing 415-2, with Republicans voting against it. It quickly moved to the Senate, where it was approved a day later by a 96-1 vote, with only Republican Sen. Rand Paul voting nay. Trump signed the bill on March 6.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was adopted 363-40, with every House Democrat and most Republicans voting in favor of the measure on March 14. The vote was conducted following two days of around-the-clock negotiations between Democratic leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The Senate adopted the measure, 90-8, on March 18, with all Democrats voting yes. Trump signed the bill into law the same day.

Our ruling: False

The claim put forth on March 22 that no Democrats had voted in favor of a coronavirus stimulus package is FALSE, based on our research. Votes on March 22-23 in the Senate that drew Democratic nays were procedural in nature and were not a vote on the package itself, which was still being drafted – no formal bill existed. At this time, the stimulus bill had not come up for final approval in Congress.

Our fact-checking sources:

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