Tags: Coronavirus | Kamala Harris | kamalaharris | senate | covidreliefbill | stimulus

Kamala Harris Casts Tiebreaking Senate Vote Advancing $1.9T Relief Package

Kamala Harris Casts Tiebreaking Senate Vote Advancing $1.9T Relief Package
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 04 March 2021 09:56 PM

Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote Thursday to begin debate on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The bill likely will face a final vote this weekend, Axios reported.

"The Senate is going to move forward with the bill. No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week," Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said from the Senate floor Thursday, per The Hill.

The Senate voted 50-50 along party lines before Harris broke the tie.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, all voted to proceed with debate. They are among a handful of moderate senators who could determine if the legislation passes. 

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is making Senate staff read the entire text of the 628-page Senate bill, which could take anywhere from five to 10 hours.

"At a minimum, somebody ought to read it," Johnson said. "How can you craft effective amendments on a bill that you haven't even seen or haven't been given time to read?"

Following the bill reading, the Senate will face up to 20 hours of debate before it begins vote-a-rama, a marathon session in which any senator who wants to force a vote on an amendment will be able to. Republicans are expected to propose amendments — some unrelated to COVID relief — that could force uncomfortable votes for Democrats.

The Congressional Budget Office took time to ensure the Senate's legislation, which largely reflects the House bill, complied with reconciliation rules, a budget process that allows Democrats to bypass a 60-vote filibuster. A simple majority can pass the bill. 

As expected, the Senate's version removes language increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and lowers the cutoff for receiving stimulus checks to $80,000 income per year for individuals and $160,000 income per year for couples.

The Senate bill also provides $510 million for FEMA homeless shelter providers, increases the total amount of Amtrak relief funding by $200 million, and places ''new guardrails'' on the $350 billion for state and local governments, according to a source for The Hill. 

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bill "ill-suited" before Thursday's vote.

"Senate Democrats, including committee chairs, are essentially being jammed with text from the House," McConnell said. "Their own members have barely been able to read this thing, let alone shape it."

The bill will go back to the House, which will need to approve any changes made by the Senate. 

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Politics
Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote Thursday to begin debate on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The bill likely will face a final vote this weekend, Axios reported."The Senate is going to move forward with the bill. No matter how long it...
kamalaharris, senate, covidreliefbill, stimulus
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2021-56-04
Thursday, 04 March 2021 09:56 PM
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