Senate Democrats Delay Introduction of Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Aid Bill | Voice of America

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate delayed the beginning of debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 reduction invoice till at the least Thursday after reaching a deal to section out $1,400 funds to higher-income Americans in a compromise with reasonable Democratic senators.

The Democratic-controlled Senate is hoping for a remaining vote later within the week on passage of Biden’s prime legislative precedence. Before the invoice hits the chamber ground, Democrats are negotiating limits to a measure Republicans have attacked as wasteful.

The Senate will reconvene at midday (1700 GMT) on Thursday, mentioned Sen. Dick Durbin, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat. The House of Representatives canceled its Thursday session after the Capitol Police warned of a attainable assault on the constructing by a militia group.

Senate officers didn’t reply to questions on whether or not their safety plans would change.

Senate Democrats mentioned the coronavirus stimulus proposal, which might block Americans incomes $80,000 per year or extra and {couples} incomes $160,000 or extra from receiving the $1,400 funds, was answer.

The earnings cutoff had been greater — $100,000 for people and $200,000 for {couples} submitting collectively — within the model of the laws handed by the Democratic-led House.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, instructed reporters: “I’m very pleased with the discussions and dialogues and some changes that have been agreed upon.” But he mentioned he didn’t know the destiny of one other change he sought, to cut back enhanced unemployment advantages to $300 every week from $400.

The compromise would imply about 9 million fewer households would get direct funds than did so within the final spherical of stimulus.

The 100-seat Senate, the place management is cut up 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, will in some unspecified time in the future think about a movement to start 20 hours of debate on the sweeping laws. That vote could possibly be an early indicator of how a lot Republican opposition the bundle faces.

The invoice would pay for vaccines and medical provides, increase jobless help and ship a brand new spherical of emergency monetary assist to households, small companies and state and native governments. Democrats purpose to get it to Biden to signal into legislation earlier than March 14, when some present advantages expire.

“The plan that we are going to vote on this week is going to provide real, robust relief for all of us,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mentioned.

Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have denounced the invoice. On Wednesday, McConnell known as it a “vast catalog of liberal spending” and a partisan “smorgasbord of borrowed money” filled with “crazy provisions” unrelated to the pandemic, which has killed greater than 517,000 Americans and left thousands and thousands extra jobless.

But a new Morning Consult/Politico poll confirmed sturdy bipartisan assist for the measure, regardless of the Republican assaults. It mentioned 77% of all voters and 59% of Republicans backed the plan.

Republicans threaten delay

Republicans mentioned they might take steps to tug out work on the laws. Sen. Ron Johnson mentioned he would insist that the whole invoice, a whole bunch of pages lengthy, be learn to the Senate at the beginning of the talk, as an alternative of the standard apply of simply studying the title. That alone might take 10 hours, he mentioned.

In an interview with Wisconsin’s 1130 WISN News/Talk radio, Johnson additionally mentioned he supposed to maintain providing amendments to the invoice.

Democrats have been looking for to kind out a welter of competing concepts as they search to advance the invoice.

A minimal wage enhance sought by Biden was dominated out final week. The Senate parliamentarian mentioned it couldn’t be included within the bundle whereas the Democrats are utilizing a particular process that permits them to cross the invoice with a easy majority, relatively than the 60 votes wanted to advance most laws within the chamber.

Democrats have proven little interest in dropping one other partisan sticking level: $350 billion in assist for state and native governments, which face rising prices and unsure tax revenues as a result of of the pandemic.

Once the Senate votes on the invoice, the House would then need to log off on the modifications earlier than Biden can signal it into legislation. 

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