The more than 24-hour wait and vote-a-rama is over in the U.S. Senate, after Republicans worked to delay the vote on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-relief package overnight Friday. Early Saturday afternoon, the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan in a party-line vote. Below are updates on the process and aftermath.
Three of a kind
The lack of GOP support for huge Democratic initiatives has essentially become an American tradition:
Now back to the House
More details on the final push from Roll Call:
Republicans filed nearly 600 amendments to the bill, but only brought up a fraction of those for debate and votes. Democrats were mostly united throughout the process, rejecting 29 Republican amendments. Overall, six amendments were adopted, including two GOP proposals.
None of the amendment votes nor the final vote required Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking powers in the Senate after Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan left Friday to attend a funeral. …
President Joe Biden backs both of the [major] changes, according to White House statements, but some House Democrats are frustrated with the compromises. … Democrats have an especially slim 221-211 majority in the House, meaning even a handful of defections could lead to a stalemate.
Regardless, House Democrats are expected to sign off on the package.
A *huge* win for Biden and Democrats
A little context:
And that’s it, ARP passed
No Republicans voted for the bill.
Manchin indeed votes yes, Murkowski no
A rare bipartisan moment
A long night and an end to the vote-a-rama
The Washington Post catches us up:
Some senators appeared sleepy and tripped over their words on the floor of the Senate as the debate that had begun Friday morning stretched past 10 a.m. Saturday. Democrats pushed ahead with the sweeping economic and public health measure after resolving an approximately nine-hour standoff on Friday with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) that resulted in significant changes to enhanced unemployment insurance benefits in the bill.
Having cleared that hurdle, Democrats stood within reach of passing the sweeping legislation that would send out a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks, $350 billion to cities and states, $130 billion to schools, and provide billions more for food assistance, rental relief, a national vaccine program and more. The Senate was plowing through dozens of amendments in a chaotic process known as a “vote-a-rama” that threatened to last into late Saturday morning or early afternoon. …
GOP senators offered amendments on everything from immigration to abortion to transgender sports participation, with most of them failing largely on party lines as Democrats expressed growing impatience.
But first there was Friday’s long delay, notes the New York Times:
[T]he Senate fell into a period of paralysis on Friday, with a vote on an unrelated proposal to advance a minimum-wage increase to the stimulus measure languishing for nearly 12 hours as Democrats stalled for time to iron out the agreement on the unemployment payments. At 9:12 p.m., it appeared to become the longest open vote in modern Senate history and closed at 10:53 p.m.
The lull outlasted the ten hours and 44 minutes it took Senate clerks to read the entire 628-page bill aloud on Thursday and into the wee hours of Friday morning, the result of a delaying tactic by Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, which Democrats had denounced as an unconscionable waste of time holding up an urgently needed relief plan.
Seriously though, what was Manchin thinking?
In the end, it took a direct call from President Biden, a meeting with Schumer, and significant concessions to get [Senator Joe] Manchin onboard. He trimmed several weeks of unemployment benefits off of Sen. Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) compromise amendment from earlier in the day and added a $150,000 cap to the proposal’s tax deduction for up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits.
The deal Manchin extracted ensures that the pandemic benefits boost expires before the current expiration of government funding. His party had hoped to extend the aid through September, but now it will expire on Labor Day in the middle of a scheduled recess. …
Manchin’s dramatic play on Friday perplexed even his West Virginia counterpart, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). Their state’s governor had been pushing Congress to go bigger, not smaller.
“I have no idea what he’s doing, to be quite frank,” she said. “Maybe you can tell me.”