Senate Democrats reached agreement to end deadlock over Covid-19 relief bill, after reaching agreement with moderate Senator Joe Manchin (DW. VA) on how much the legislation will spend for unemployment benefits.
The bill will now provide an additional $ 300 per week in jobless benefits that runs through September 6. Those earning less than $ 150,000 will receive tax relief on the first $ 10,200 of their benefits.
The House version of the bill, which passed last week, provided an additional $ 400 per week in unemployment benefits.
The $ 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief legislation came to a halt on Friday morning, as Democrats worked all day to reach some sort of deal with Manchin that would reduce the amount of unemployment benefits.
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Manchin announced a deal on Friday night. “The president has made it clear that we will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May and I am confident that the economic recovery will follow,” he said. We have come to a compromise that allows the economy to rebound quickly while protecting unemployment benefit recipients from an unforeseen tax bill next year.
When the Senate began its session on Friday, it looked like it would be a one-day marathon of voting on legislative amendments, a process called vote-a-rama.
But the process was halted shortly after 11 a.m. as lawmakers voted on whether to override the Senate parliamentarian and include in legislation a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. . Democrats fell well short of the votes needed to do so, but the vote was officially held open in the evening as a compromise was reached with Manchin. According to C-SPAN, the Senate even set a new record for the longest vote.
The US Senate set a new record for its longest vote.
This vote (on the minimum wage amendment) began at 11:03 a.m. ET.
The previous record, as of 2019, was 10 hours and 8 minutes. https://t.co/2HiYyeZKeP
– CSPAN (@cspan) March 6, 2021
Bill Covid-19 would be President Joe Biden’s first major legislative achievement, but he has no voice to spare in the Senate.
With a 50-50 split, the West Virginia senator, perhaps the most moderate of all the Democrats in the caucus, wields considerable influence. As it stands, even with his vote, Vice President Kamala Harris had to be present on Thursday to break a tie in order to move the Covid-19 legislation forward to debate.
Among other things, the relief program also provides $ 1,400 in direct payments, money for state and local governments, eligibility for emergency small business loans to a wider range of businesses, and An additional $ 135 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to help organizations close budget gaps.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden supported the latest compromise and “is grateful to all the senators who worked so hard to achieve this result.”
The Senate will then vote on additional amendments, which will likely extend the process until Saturday morning or even throughout the weekend.