The U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday morning allowing the passage of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus stimulus bill, and also voted that high-income taxpayers would not be able to claim the $1,400 direct payments.
Lawmakers worked all night on a slew of amendments to the resolution, which will initiate a process known as Reconciliation and the Democrats to approve a $1.9 trillion package by majority vote without the threat of a filibuster. Just after 5.30 am the final vote was cast
The resolution passed, 51-50, with all Senate Republicans against it and Vice President Kamala Harris casting the casting vote.
Still, the approval of several amendments proposed or co-submitted by Republicans allowed Senate Democrats to argue that the stimulus package was supported on both sides of the aisle.
“A lot of bipartisan amendments have been passed, so this was a bipartisan activity,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said after the final vote. “But we cannot emphasize enough how much help America needs during this terrible crisis, and we cannot miss the point that we still have a long way to go.”
On a bipartisan bill, senators voted 99 to 1 on a provision that could exclude wealthier households from payments. US Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., cast the only no vote.
The amendment did not define “top income,” but in the first incentive law, individuals earning $75,000 or less and married couples earning $150,000 or less received the full $1,200, while individuals earning up to $99,000 and married couples earning up to $198,000 earned a smaller check based on income.
“I don’t think one person on this floor would disagree with directing aid to our neighbors who are struggling,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va. “There are other families who have not missed a single paycheck due to this pandemic. It makes no sense to send those people a check.”
The amendment was proposed by many of the same senators, including Manchin and Maine Republican Susan Collins, who collaborated on an incentive bill that led to the $900 billion measure that went into effect last December.
“The question before us is quite simple,” Collins said. “Do we want the stimulus checks to go to households with a household income of $300,000? Or do we want to focus the aid on needy families who need the help and give a boost to the economy?”
Collins was also part of a group of 10 Senate Republicans who proposed a $618 billion stimulus bill that President Joe Biden dismissed as too small. That measure included $1,000 payments that would cut at $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Senators also passed an amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Todd Young, R-Ind., to ban unauthorized immigrants from getting stimulus checks. The vote was 58-42. Both US Senators from New Jersey, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, voted against.
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The House of Representatives planned to consider the amended resolution on Friday. Once the measure passes that chamber, lawmakers in both houses will begin drafting and discussing a $1.9 trillion bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the price tag was right on Thursday.
“We want to save lives and save livelihoods; it’s going to take some money to do that,” she said. “It’s a reasonable plan. It meets the needs. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s coronavirus-centric, it’s coming on time, and that’s where we need to go.”
But Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who in 2017 used the same parliamentary procedure to pass a tax bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would increase the deficit by the same $1.9 trillion, objected. the scope of the Incentive Act.
“There’s no question that some families are still struggling,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Thursday. ‘This is not finished. But experts agree that the remaining damage to our economy does not require another multi-trillion dollar untargeted patch.”
However, S&P Global reported that a $1.9 trillion stimulus “would have the biggest impact on the economy this year,” and the Brookings Institution, a Washington research organization, said a package this high would put the economy in third place. quarter of the year.
Jonathan D. Salant can be reached on [email protected].
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