Senate vote clears path for Biden's stimulus plan to be pushed through reconciliation
As President Joe Biden continues to talk to Republicans about a stimulus deal, Democrats are preparing a process that would allow them to pass much of the law without a Republican vote.
The Senate passed a procedural motion 50-49 to advance a budget resolution that paved the way for many provisions in President Joe Biden's $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package to be passed through reconciliation on Tuesday.
Read more: What to do if you haven't received your stimulus check
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"Joe Biden is totally in favor of reconciliation," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at a press conference prior to the vote on Tuesday. “I talked to him every day. Our employees spoke several times a day. "
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference following meeting Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on February 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
The reconciliation process is a budget rule that would allow Democrats to pass some auxiliary provisions by a simple majority of 51 votes, and that would not require the support of GOP senators.
Both the House and Senate budget committees would draft the budget resolution. The Senate has limited time to debate this and there is no filibuster once this process is over. While the debate is limited, the resolution could be further delayed by a “voting rama” that would allow lawmakers to make endless changes to the resolution.
Read more: Here's what's in Joe Biden's $ 1.9 trillion rescue plan that could help your wallet
But in a 50:50 Senate, Democrats would need all of their votes to pass the Reconciliation Act plus the groundbreaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. But not all democratic lawmakers prefer this process. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that he would support the further development of the budget resolution, but is "confident that we can receive non-partisan support in the future".
"I will be voting to move the budget process forward because we need to address the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis," Manchin said in a statement on Tuesday. "But let me be clear - and these are the words I shared with President Biden - our focus must be on the COVID-19 crisis and the Americans hardest hit by this pandemic."
"Won't be satisfied with a package that doesn't fulfill the moment"
It is unclear whether all provisions could be passed by vote. For this purpose, the resolution must contain items that have an impact on the total expenditure or income of the federal government. While some provisions - like the $ 1,400 stimulus payments and expanded and expanded unemployment benefits - could easily be eligible for the reconciliation process, others, like the $ 15 minimum wage, might not.
"If you start to get into trouble, try, for example, raising the minimum wage as it has no impact on the federal government budget," said Mark Harkins, former Congressional officer and senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute in Georgetown, told Yahoo Money.
The reconciliation process begins a day after a group of 10 Republican senators unveiled a scaled-down stimulus proposal of $ 618 billion and met with President Biden to discuss the proposal.
Read More: Here's Who Is Eligible For The Additional $ 100 Weekly Unemployment Benefits
"The president expressed his hope that the group could continue to discuss ways to strengthen the American bailout plan," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement following the meeting on Monday. "However, he reiterated that he will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response or settle for a package that does not meet the moment."
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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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Originally published on February 3, 2021 at 12:28 am
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