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Politics 6 takeaways from the Senate's approval of Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

00:56  07 march  2021
00:56  07 march  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

AOC says Democrats should overrule or FIRE the Senate parliamentarian

  AOC says Democrats should overrule or FIRE the Senate parliamentarian Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Democrats should overrule or fire the Senate parliamentarian after Elizabeth MacDonough ruled the $15 minimum wage cannot be included in COVID relief package.'I think all options should be on the table,' she told reporters on Capitol Hill when asked about the matter.

The U. S . Senate on Saturday inched toward passage of President Joe Biden ' s $ 1 . 9 trillion coronavirus relief plan in an around-the-clock session that began on Friday involving nearly two dozen votes and hours of closed-door negotiations. Early on Saturday, Democrats repelled Republican Senator Tom Cotton’ s attempt to send the behemoth bill back to a committee to rework part of U. S . immigration policy unrelated to the COVID - 19 pandemic. Republicans were one vote down after Senator Dan Sullivan left Washington to go to Alaska for a family funeral.

The Senate steered toward a voting marathon on Democrats' $ 1 . 9 trillion COVID - 19 relief bill on Friday after enduring an extraordinary half-day holdup forced by a Republican foe of President Joe Biden ' s top legislative priority. The day after he single-handedly delayed the U.S. Senate ' s debate on President Joe Biden ' s $ 1 . 9 trillion COVID - 19 relief bill for 11 hours, Republican Senator Ron Johnson said on Friday that he could retire from office when his term expires. The 65-year-old Republican, who was first elected to the Senate during the Tea Party surge in 2010, had pledged to

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden won preliminary approval Saturday of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill after a bleary-eyed Senate voted 50-49 for the package along party lines, capping more than 27 hours of debate and giving Biden his first major legislative victory.

a man standing in front of a laptop: WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate passed the bill 50-49 which will go back to the House for a final vote. © Samuel Corum, Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate passed the bill 50-49 which will go back to the House for a final vote.

A final vote is required next week for the Democratic-controlled House to adopt the Senate version of the bill before Biden can sign it into law, but approval is expected.

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Senate Democrats took a major procedural step toward approving the $ 1 . 9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Lawmakers still need to clear hurdles to meet their goal of passing the bill by this weekend, as Republican opposition slows the process. Democrats hope to get the bill to President Joe Democrats could pass the bill on their own in the Senate , with Harris breaking a tie. Republicans have criticized the scope of the spending as Covid - 19 vaccinations ramp up and the country gets closer to reopening in the coming months. They have also pointed to broader skepticism from economists

House passes Biden ' s $ 1 . 9 trillion Covid - 19 relief package. Now that the bill has passed the House it will next go to the Senate . RELATED: Here' s what you can expect to get from the $ 1 . 9 trillion House stimulus. Making the effort more complicated, the Senate is expected to strip out a provision in the legislation increasing the federal minimum wage after the Senate parliamentarian ruled against including it under the procedure known as reconciliation, which Senate Democrats are using to pass the bill with a simple majority vote.

"The bottom line is this," Biden said in a nine-minute speech from the White House's State Dining Room praising the Senate's vote. "This plan puts on a path to beating this virus."

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Here are six takeaways from the marathon Senate vote and what it means for Biden and millions of Americans awaiting relief.

More: Senate passes Biden’s COVID relief bill, sending legislation with $1,400 stimulus checks to House

1. Shut out by Republicans

Biden campaigned on bipartisanship following four divisive years under Donald Trump. Yet he was not able to win over a single Senate Republican – not even moderates like Susan Collins of Maine or Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – to support legislation that will likely be less controversial than future battles on immigration, health care and infrastructure.

Fact check: Breaking down spending in the COVID-19 relief bill

  Fact check: Breaking down spending in the COVID-19 relief bill About 85% of the proposed spending is pandemic-related, a nonpartisan analysis found. But only about 9% goes to direct COVID-19 intervention. Around 8.5% of the $1.9 trillion, at most, goes to direct containment measures such as vaccines and testing. The total is somewhere between $100 billion and $160 billion, depending on whether one includes items like $10 billion in medical supplies and $24 billion in child care for essential workers, as the White House does in arriving at the larger figure.

President Joe Biden ' s relief bill aimed at helping Americans deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has cleared a major hurdle. The $ 1 . 9 tn (£1.4tn) plan was approved in the Senate on Saturday despite every Republican senator voting against. The House of Representatives - controlled by Mr Biden ' s Democrats - is expected to Mr Biden described the Senate vote as "one more giant step forward" in delivering the promise to help people. America' s worst public health crisis in a century has left nearly 523,000 people dead and 29 million infected, with a current unemployment rate of 6 .2%.

WASHINGTON— The Senate approved a budget plan for President Biden ’ s $ 1 . 9 trillion Covid - 19 relief package early Friday, after Republicans tried to put Democrats on the spot on the pace of school reopenings and raising the minimum wage, among other issues, during a lengthy amendment process. House and Senate committees will now start a weeks-long process of working on their individual pieces of the actual aid legislation, though the Senate ’ s work may be somewhat slower because of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump that starts in earnest next week.

The Senate's approval was completely party-line, one week after the House's 219-212 vote in which no Republicans backed the bill (and two Democrats broke ranks to oppose it). The lack of bipartisan support shows that breaking through the gridlock isn't as easy as Biden predicted as a candidate.

Ten Republican senators met with Biden in the White House last month to seek a compromise. But they put forward a significantly smaller $681 billion proposal that was a non-starter for the president. He quickly abandoned talks and moved full-speed ahead on approving his legislation in full.

The White House has argued that the relief package, even without GOP support, is bipartisan because of its widespread support in the public including Republican voters. A Morning Consult this week found 76% of Americans support the bill.

"Look, the American people strongly support what we’re doing," Biden said, downplaying the lack of bipartisanship. "That’s the key here."

The last minute federal unemployment insurance compromise, briefly explained

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The Senate is preparing to debate President Biden ' s $ 1 . 9 trillion coronavirus relief bill . CBS News congressional correspondent Nikole Killion joins CBSN' s Lana Zak to discuss the latest developments from Capitol Hill. COVID - 19 vaccination efforts pick up speed as states begin easing restrictions.

The United States Congress is scrambling to complete work on President Joe Biden ' s $ 1 . 9 trillion COVID - 19 relief bill before some existing pandemic-related benefits are due to expire. Duration: 02:19 2 hrs ago.

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2. The Senate's all-nighter

With Republicans seeking to slow down the bill's passage with an onslaught of amendments, the Senate's debate extended more than 27 hours.

Some senators appeared to nod off at their desks, stirring in time to cast their votes on amendments. Others moved around, as if to stay awake. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., began chatting about "Baconators," a Wendy’s breakfast sandwich, as he spoke with Virginia Democrat Mark Warner about food options.

More: Live stimulus updates: Biden praises Senate passage of $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan as 'giant step forward'

a man wearing a suit and tie standing next to a woman: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber just after voting against the Democrat's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 6, 2021. © J. Scott Applewhite, AP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the chamber just after voting against the Democrat's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 6, 2021.

The loudest and most sustained ovation from all the senators came after Schumer praised Senate staff, cafeteria workers, custodial staff and Capitol Police, some of whom worked straight through as the session wound over parts of three days. That included the nearly 11 hours that Senate clerks were forced to read aloud the entire text of the 628-page bill as part of Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson’s efforts to delay passage of the measure.

‘We need the government’: Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan reflects seismic shifts in U.S. politics

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It marked one of the longest overnight sessions in the last few years in the Senate. The longest session, however, was one that went for over 125 hours in 1960 as senators debated a civil rights measure.

3. Manchin's outsized role leads to White House concession

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., has emerged as the most important vote in the Senate.

Anyone who thought his outsized influence in the evenly divided Senate was overstated needed only to see how the chamber came to a screeching halt when the West Virginia moderate raised questions about the size of unemployment benefits.

Manchin already effectively derailed one of Biden's Cabinet nominees. And he showed his clout again during the debate of Bidens' COVID-19 relief bill. After he objected to the $400-per-week payments, it was lowered to $300 following an hours-long delay where the senator was at the center of negotiations.

More: Joe Manchin, a key Democratic senator, says he'll oppose Biden's nominee for budget chief, putting nomination in jeopardy

a group of people standing in front of a building: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speak as they arrive to vote in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. © Al Drago, Getty Images Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speak as they arrive to vote in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

Biden personally called Manchin to keep the senator on board, Politico and NBC reported.

Expect Manchin’s role as deal-maker to only expand after the COVID relief vote.

The House is moving on after passing COVID-19 relief. Here's a look ahead to what's on the agenda.

  The House is moving on after passing COVID-19 relief. Here's a look ahead to what's on the agenda. The House is also looking to the Senate to pick up legislation it has already passed related to police reform, voting rights and labor issues. However, most of the legislation was passed largely along partisan lines and now faces a 50-50 divided Senate with the looming prospect of the filibuster. Without at least 10 Senate Republican votes joining all 50 Democrats, legislation will not make it to Biden’s desk. © Sarah Silbiger, Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 08: The U.S. Capitol building exterior is seen at sunset on March 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.

4. $15 minimum wage fails

A faction of Democratic senators joined all Senate Republicans to defeat a proposal pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders' proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour on Friday.

The Vermont independent tried to add the provision back in Biden's COVID-19 bill, but his effort failed in a 58-42 vote with eight members of the Senate Democratic caucus voting against it.

More: Group of Senate Democrats and Republicans vote to keep $15 minimum wage out of Biden's COVID stimulus bill

The eight senators included both from Biden's home state of Delaware – Chris Coons and Tom Carper – as well as Manchin, New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Jon Tester of Montana, and Angus King, an independent from Maine who is a member of the Democratic caucus.

Biden has remained steadfast in his support of a minimum wage hike, but it's unclear how that plan can move forward without all Democrats on board. Even Sanders conceded before the vote that the COVID relief package was by far the best near-term shot to achieve the $15 threshold.

"(The president) will use his political will to get that done," White House press secretary Jen Psaki vowed on Friday, though not revealing a path to accomplish that aim.

5. Price tag remains intact, a win for Biden

To fend off naysayers about the bill's hefty price tag, Biden regularly argued the biggest risk was not going "too big," but rather making the bill too small to address the scope of the pandemic.

It was a lesson learned during former President Barack Obama's first term, when Biden was vice president. Biden has said he regrets that the Obama-Biden administration did not put forward a larger stimulus in response to the Great Recession.

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In the end, the president got the dollar amount he wanted this time, a full $1.9 trillion, with little variation from the bill he introduced in January.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., gives a thumbs up after leaving the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol on March 6, 2021 in Washington. © Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., gives a thumbs up after leaving the Senate chamber at the U.S. Capitol on March 6, 2021 in Washington.

"The end result is essentially about the same," Biden told reporters. "I don't think any of the compromises have in any way fundamentally altered the essence of what I put in the bill in the first place."

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Components of the bill are:

► Provides most Americans earning up to $75,000 a $1,400 stimulus check.

► Extends a $300 weekly federal boost to unemployment benefits through August

► Sends $350 billion to state and local governments whose revenue has declined because of COVID-19's impact on the economy.

► Allocates $130 billion to help fully reopen schools and colleges.

► Allots $30 billion to help renters and landlords weather economic losses.

► Devotes $50 billion for small-business assistance.

► Dedicates $160 billion for vaccine development, distribution and related needs.

► Expands the child tax credit up to $3,600 per child.

6. Relief package doesn’t pass without Georgia

Elections have consequences, and the Senate’s razor-thin vote proved it.

Because no Republicans joined Democrats, passage of the bill would not have been possible were it not for Democrats’ sweep of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5.

"There is no question that the people of Georgia deserve a great deal of credit for what happened here today," Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., told reporters. "We simply would not be here. Had they not stood up in such a profound way in this historic election."

Victories for Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Warnock created a 50-50 tie in the Senate, effectively giving Democrats power because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to break ties.

Staff reporter Nicholas Wu contributed to this report. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 6 takeaways from the Senate's approval of Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

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