U.S. Senate approves budget plan to promote Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package
President Joe Biden’s push to pass a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is nearing success as the U.S. Senate tentatively approved a budget plan to allow Democrats to push the bill through Congress in coming weeks, with or without Republican backing..
After 15 hours of debate and voting on dozens of amendments, the Senate found itself in an impasse – 50-50 – in adopting the budget plan. This impasse was overcome by the vice president Kamala Harris (Kamala Harris), whose voice «per» ensured victory for the democrats.
It was «breakthrough» to the adoption of a comprehensive coronavirus crisis relief bill that the President Joe Biden put at the top of his legislative agenda, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Just before the final vote, Democrats flexed their muscles by proposing an amendment canceling the three previous votes that Republicans received.
They used this debate over the coronavirus economic aid package to express support for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the United States, which Biden had previously blocked, and support for hydraulic fracturing to extract underground oil and natural gas..
The Republican pi mandate was also canceled, prohibiting coronavirus aid to immigrants illegally residing in the United States..
Chaired by Democrat Kamala Harris, she changed the score 50-50 in her favor to reject Republican victories.
This was the first time Harris voted as Senate President after being sworn in as Vice President Joe Biden on January 20..
Before concluding its work, the Senate approved a series of amendments to the draft budget plan, which had already been passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. As a result, the House of Representatives must vote again to pass the changes in the Senate, which may occur later this Friday..
For example, the Senate added a measure calling for more funding for rural hospitals, whose resources are limited by the coronavirus pandemic..
Senate Democrats and the Biden administration have said they want a comprehensive law passed as soon as possible to tackle the pandemic that has left more than 450,000 Americans dead and millions of citizens unemployed..
They want to spend $ 1.9 trillion to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations across the country. Other funds will expand special unemployment benefits, which expire at the end of March, and make direct payments to people to help pay bills and stimulate the economy..
They also want to send money to state and local governments facing the worst health crisis in decades..
But as the meeting lasted for hours and dozens of amendments were proposed, jaded senators mostly spent the night shaking off Republican ideas such as ending all US foreign aid and barring Congress from expanding the US Supreme Court beyond its current nine justices..
Senators voted on issues ranging from immigration and abortion to energy and taxes. But none of the approved amendments will have the force of law in the draft budget and will basically be the guiding principle for drafting the actual coronavirus relief bill in the coming weeks..
More importantly, the budget plan opens up access to a piece of legislation called reconciliation that allows Democrats to endorse Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion proposal by simple majority..
Most legislation must receive at least 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to advance. But the House is split 50-50, and Republicans oppose the Democratic president’s proposal. Reconciliation would allow 48 Senate Democrats and two independent candidates who have joined them to approve a vote-casting aid package from Kamala Harris.
Republicans pitted the budget plan against proposals that would have been less than a third of the cost. While their plan overlaps with that of the Democrats in some respects, Biden found it too anemic to get the country back on its feet after a year of suffering from the coronavirus pandemic..
A group of 10 Republican senators who met with Biden at the White House on Monday sent him a letter Thursday stating that significant sums of money already appropriated by Congress had yet to be spent..
Last year, Congress passed nearly $ 4 trillion in emergency bills to aid health care and the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus..
In an early vote on Thursday, senators conveyed a message to the Biden administration that direct payments should be tailored for those who need the money most, as they voted 99 to 1 to recommend that high-income individuals should not be eligible for new round of $ 1,400 checks for individuals.
Senators did not specify income limits. But in the previous round of direct payments, the threshold was set at $ 75,000 for individuals and $ 150,000 for married couples..
«It is a worthy act of mercy for us to help our neighbors who struggle to survive every day.» during the coronavirus pandemic, the Democratic Senator said Joe Manchin (Joe Manchin), author of this proposal.
Democrats move toward $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill without Republicans