MAINTAIN UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, Its official, the Senate passed an amendment to keep the extra $300 unemployment aid through September.
The inclusion of this amendment in President Joe Biden’s stimulus package has broken the logjam in the Senate discussion of the plan this Friday.
The vote in favor of the additional $300 per week for unemployment in the Biden Administration’s stimulus package accelerated Senate discussion of the $1.9 trillion bill.
But, the breakthrough did not prevent the process of tabling and evaluating amendments from dragging on into the wee hours of Saturday morning.
This process, known as “vote-a-rama” in which the various amendments are debated and approved, resumed shortly before midnight on Friday and after 12 hours of stalemate due to the debate related to unemployment insurance funds.
Progressive and moderate Democratic senators had already spoken Thursday morning on the deal to lower payments from $400 to $300 a week extra.
Finally, before 1 a.m. today, the amendment passed 50 to 49 after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who occupied the middle ground between members of his delegation and Republicans.
The amendment that narrowed the divisions was introduced by Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware.
The new provision also provides that the first $10,200 received for unemployment will not be subject to tax for households with incomes less than $150,000. Also, tax rules that relate to limitations for excessive business losses were extended through 2026.
Manchin had initially favored an amendment introduced by Republican Senator Rob Portman which would have reduced the additional weekly benefit to $300, but would only be extended through June.
Most of these amendments were fast-tracked for evaluation before midnight and came from Republicans who aimed to extend the debate and drive Democrats to consider politically divisive issues.
IT IS UNCLEAR HOW LONG THE AMENDMENT PROCESS WILL TAKE.
Although Schumer insisted that the Senate vote on the final bill on Monday, Republicans have continued to add strategies to stall this process.
FAILED MOTION TO POSTPONE DEBATE
Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader named Mitch McConnell, tried to postpone discussion until Saturday at 10 am, but failed to break the legislative process on Friday, which is another sign that members of the Republican minority are not willing to budge to clear the way for Democrats in their object to pass the $1.9 trillion “American Bailout Plan.”