Senate trims parts of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill before votes

Senate trims parts of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill before votes

News: Senate trims parts of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill before votes.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal would phase out payments to high-income Americans in a compromise with moderate Democratic senators, according to lawmakers and media reports.

The democratically controlled Senate expects to open a debate on the package on Wednesday. A final vote on adoption will take place later in the week. Before the bill hits the chamber floor, the Democrats are negotiating limits to a measure that Republicans have attacked as wasteful.

Senate Democrats said the proposal, which would prevent Americans from making $ 80,000 a year or more, and couples who make $ 160,000 or more when they receive the $ 1,400 payments, is a good solution.

The income limit had been higher in the version of the legislation passed by Parliament – $ 100,000 for individuals and $ 200,000 for couples filing together.

“It is a fair way to bring this to a successful conclusion,” Senator Michael Bennet told reporters. Senator Debbie Stabenow said the caps were “a reasonable compromise”.

The 100-seat chamber, where control is shared 50% between Democrats and Republicans, will consider a motion on Wednesday to begin a 20-hour debate on the comprehensive legislation. That vote could be a leading indicator of how much Republican opposition the package has.

The bill would pay for vaccines and medical supplies, boost unemployment benefits, and send a new round of emergency financial aid to households, small businesses, and state and local governments. Democrats want to take it to Biden to sign law before March 14, when some current benefits expire.

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“The plan we will be voting on this week will bring real and robust relief to all of us,” said Chuck Schumer, Senate majority leader.

Republicans, led by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, denounced the bill. On Wednesday, McConnell called it a “huge catalog of liberal spending” and a partisan “smorgasbord of borrowed money” filled with “insane supplies” unrelated to the pandemic that has killed more than 517,000 Americans and left millions unemployed.

However, a new Morning Consult / Politico poll found that bipartisan support for the measure against Republican attacks is strong. 77% of all voters and 59% of Republicans supported the plan.

Before the legislation finally comes to a vote, the Democrats must weed out a host of competing ideas to move the bill forward.

First up there will be an increase in the minimum wage that the Senate MP was unable to include in the package last week, while the Democrats are using a special procedure that will allow them to pass the law by a simple majority instead of the 60 votes needed, to advance most of the laws in the Chamber.

With the Democrats and their allies controlling 50 seats, Vice President Kamala Harris may have to give them a groundbreaking voice, but as long as the Democrats stay united, they don’t need Republican votes.


Democrats have shown no interest in dropping another partisan sticking point: $ 350 billion for state and local governments facing rising costs and uncertain tax revenues due to the pandemic. However, they are negotiating what to include in that number, and some are advocating spending on rural broadband internet services, a priority for senators from states with large rural populations.

A Reuters analysis found that democratically-minded states would receive a larger share of that money this time than under the first $ 150 billion in state and local aid that Congress approved last year.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a major centrist, pushed for unemployment benefits to be cut from $ 400 to $ 300 a week.

Once the Senate votes on the bill, the House would have to sign the amendments before Biden can legally sign it.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Andy Sullivan; Additional coverage from David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone, Peter Cooney, Steve Orlofsky and Jonathan Oatis

Original Source © Reuters

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