Senate weighs changes to $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus bill

The $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan faces a potential chipper in the Senate as lawmakers consider making changes to the gigantic bill.

The House passed the legislation on Friday and sent it to the Senate, where it could be tabled next week. The leadership wants the bill to become law by mid-March, with the responsibility of quickly passing it through Congress.

But before Senate Democrats can pass the bill, they will have to go through a one-hour voting session known as vote-a-branch, where any senator can offer an amendment. Any changes will require the coronavirus relief package to return to the House.

“There are conversations about a slightly different approach to some of these provisions … [But] we don’t want to derail reconciliation, “Sen. said. Dick durbinDick Durbin Party headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Murkowski undecided on Tanden as limbo nominee Democrats ask FBI for plans to address domestic extremism after Capitol attack (D-Ill.), Referring to the budget process Democrats are using to promote legislation. “We want to do something that is politically feasible with the cooperation of the House.”

Senator John cornynJohn Cornyn Politics, not racism or sexism, explains opposition to Biden’s cabinet nominees Biden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission MORE (R-Texas), when asked what to expect from Republicans, added that “I think people are really looking forward to the opportunity to place markers and make their point.”

With actions in the Senate normally tightly controlled, voting by branch represents one of the few opportunities senators have to force votes. A pre-vote earlier this month on the budget resolution, which promoted the COVID-19 relief bill, attracted more than 800 amendments, with a debate beginning in the afternoon and lasting until after 5 a.m.

But most of the amendments during that debate were not binding, making them little more than political messages. The stakes are high in the upcoming debate, as any successful amendment would change the bill and force it back into the lower house.

“I think you got a little advance, but the budget resolution is not law … and this will be so, I think you can expect a robust amendment process,” Cornyn said.

An 11-hour curveball is what the Senate ends up doing to the federal minimum wage after the MP ruled that language increasing it to $ 15 an hour does not meet arcane budget rules that determine what can be included in the relief bill.

The House left the language of the $ 15 minimum wage in place, although it will be removed in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to see if they can incorporate language into the bill that would effectively push large corporations to implement a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

The idea has been endorsed by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse Democrats pass broad .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage increase. Personal income rises, inflation remains low after stimulus burst MORE (D-Ore.) And chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Bernie sandersBernie SandersHouse Democrats pass a comprehensive .9T COVID-19 relief bill with increased minimum wage. The House is poised for a tight vote on the COVID-19 relief package. Personal income rises, inflation remains low after stimulus burst MORE (I-Vt.), And a senior Democratic aide said Majority Leader Charles schumerChuck SchumerThe Strange Backstory of Hillicon Valley Filibuster: Biden Signs Chip Order | Hearing on Media Misinformation | Facebook Agreement with Australia | CIA Nominee in House Rules SolarWinds publishes new text of COVID-19 relief bill MORE (DN.Y.) “is looking at” adding it to the coronavirus relief bill.

Democratic Sens. Joe manchinJoseph (Joe) Manchin Progressives are furious at Senate setbacks Politics, not racism or sexism, explains opposition to Biden’s cabinet nominees House Democrats pass a .9T COVID-relief bill 19 with increased minimum wage PLUS (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Who opposed the increase in the minimum wage of $ 15 per hour, have not yet weighed in.

Other bipartisan discussions are ongoing about making additional changes to the package.

Senator Susan collinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins urges Biden to review order at the US-Canadian border. Media circles go hand in hand with conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden Why the ‘Never-Trumpers’ Failed MORE (R-Maine) said he was talking to Democrats about possible amendments, such as raising the income threshold for Americans to receive stimulus payments, and those who earn more than $ 200,000 receive a partial check.

Durbin, asked about the comments, added that “that is one of the issues that the bipartisan group of senators has raised from the beginning.”

During the vote by branch of the budget, a bipartisan group of senators introduced an amendment to express their support to ensure that “higher income taxpayers are not eligible.” The amendment, which was not binding, ended up being adopted on a 99-1 vote.

Under the coronavirus bill, people earning up to $ 75,000 and couples earning up to $ 150,000 would receive a check for $ 1,400. After that, the check amount is reduced until it is completely eliminated for individuals earning $ 100.00 or married couples earning $ 200,000.

Many from the same group of senators also submitted an amendment to the budget resolution that supported the cap on federal unemployment pay at $ 300 per week. The House bill limits the payment to $ 400 per week.

While six Democratic senators were co-sponsors of the budget resolution amendment, it is unclear whether there would be enough support to bring about a similar change to the coronavirus bill, a move that would draw fury from progressives in both houses.

Senator Jon testerJonathan (Jon) Tester Democrats hesitate to raise taxes amid pandemic Jennifer Palmieri: ‘Since I was aware of politics, I wanted to be in politics’ Democrats in battle for minimum wage MORE (D-Mont), one of the co-sponsors of the budget amendment, said he supports the $ 400 per week and has not yet discussed how the House bill deals with stimulus controls.

When asked about the potential for bipartisan support to lower the weekly pay cap, Collins noted that “there was a general consensus on that at one point.”

Schumer has been urging members of the Senate Democratic caucus to suggest any potential changes to the bill so they can be incorporated into legislation before it passes the House. Although Democrats initially proposed no changes to the budget resolution, they ended up supporting dozens.

“Please continue to provide comments and ideas to my office and the Senate committees on the bill. We have already incorporated many of their suggestions, as well as a number of bipartisan proposals, into the bill and the Senate is on track to deliver a robust $ 1.9 trillion package to the President’s desk, ”Schumer wrote in a letter. from “Dear Colleague.”

Republicans, meanwhile, are plotting their own potential changes, after scoring big victories in voting by branch of the budget, and could support amendments to dilute the legislation even though all 50 Republican senators are expected to vote against the bill. final law.

“Thinking strategically and tactically, I think you almost have to ask yourself ‘do you want to improve it?’ And I think so,” said the senator. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOn The Money: Manhattan DA Gets Trump Tax Returns | Biden’s nominee takes a look at the post-Trump trade agenda | Biden Faces First Setback as Tanden Staggers NIGHT ENERGY: Senate Confirms Former Michigan Governor Granholm as Secretary of Energy | Republican Bill to Codify Trump’s Rule on Fossil Fuel and Gun Financing | Kennedy Apologizes For Calling Haaland A ‘Insanity’ Republican Bill Would Codify Trump’s Rule On Fossil Fuel And Gun Financing MORE (RN.D.) on supporting changes while opposing the blanket bill.

Senator Todd youngTodd Christopher YoungGraham: Trump Will Be ‘Helpful’ To All Senate Republican Headlines Biden Signs Supply Chain Order After ‘Positive’ Meeting With Lawmakers 2024 Republican Hopefuls Draw Early Battle Lines For Post-Trump Era MORE (R-Ind.) And Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSunday Shows Progress: 2,024 Applicants Gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccination effort continues Memorandum: CPAC fires initial gun in 2024 Democrats fight to rescue minimum wage increase MORE (R-Ark.) He garnered bipartisan support for an amendment during the vote-a-budget branch to support not giving stimulus checks to undocumented immigrants, although the Democratic leadership maintained that it would have also legally impacted family members within the states United.

Young suggested that lawmakers were trying to address the issue in the House to avoid an amendment vote in the Senate, but that if not resolved he would offer the same amendment to the coronavirus bill that previously garnered the support of eight Democrats.

“I guess it’s a political protection effort,” he said of efforts to address the issue in the House. “But if it promotes good public policy, I totally agree.”


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