Breaking News- Dream’s Chronicles Reloaded ™- Washington D.C- Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some major tea and it involves House Democrats passing a new Stimulus Package.
The House of Representatives approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan early Saturday morning and sent it to the Senate, as Democrats defied united GOP opposition to advance the massive relief package aimed at stabilizing the economy and boosting coronavirus vaccinations and testing. The legislation, Biden’s first major agenda item, passed 219-212. Republicans unanimously opposed the bill, a strikingly partisan outcome just a month after the new president was inaugurated with calls for bipartisanship and unity. All but two Democrats voted in favor.
The action in the House came after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the $15 minimum wage in the legislation is not permitted under Senate rules. House Democrats included it anyway, and it’s not clear how the issue will get resolved.The vote closed little after 2 a.m. Saturday after a long day of debate, with Republicans repeatedly decrying the legislation as a partisan boondoggle and Democrats defending it as much needed relief.
The relief bill would provide $1,400 stimulus payments to tens of millions of American households; extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits through August; provide $350 billion in aid to states, cities, U.S. territories and tribal governments; and boost funding for vaccine distribution and coronavirus testing among myriad other measures, such as nutritional assistance, housing aid and money for schools.
Thursday, the Senate’s parliamentarian ruled the wage hike as written could not proceed under reconciliation, the budgetary maneuver Democrats are using to pass the stimulus bill through the Senate without GOP votes.
Congressional Republicans argued throughout hours of debate Friday and early Saturday that Biden’s stimulus is poorly targeted and too expensive, and that it includes measures unrelated to the pandemic. Congress approved some $4 trillion to fight the pandemic last year, including $900 billion in December, and Republicans said that is more than enough, especially in light of signs the economy is improving. “This isn’t a relief bill. It takes care of Democrats’ political allies while it fails to deliver for American families,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.CA.). “We already know what is the best stimulus plan out there: It is to fully reopen our economy. To do that, we need our economy to go back to work, back to school and back to health.”Democrats, argued that more financial assistance is sorely needed for families, and more money should be directed to boost vaccine development and production and help the health-care system days after the country reached the grim milestone of 500,000 covid deaths.
“If you don’t think Congress has more work to do here, then you either don’t get what American families are going through, or you don’t care. I don’t know how else to say it,” said House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D.KY.). “Well, we cannot wait, and we aren’t going to wait.”
Biden made efforts at bipartisan outreach after unveiling his proposal, including meeting with a group of 10 Senate Republicans who made a $618 billion counteroffer. He ultimately dismissed their ideas as too meager and made the decision to move forward without GOP support, repeatedly defending his proposal in recent days and challenging critics to tell him: “What would they have me cut?”The two Democrats opposing the legislation Saturday were Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Jared Golden of Maine. Golden has argued that the House should have pursued a stand-alone vote on a vaccine funding bill before turning to larger relief legislation. While House passage of the legislation had been all but assured, the outlook is trickier in the Senate, where moderate Democrats have raised questions about a number of provisions, including the structure of the state and local aid. The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, so if Republicans remain opposed, Democrats can pass the legislation only if they stay united and Vice President Harris breaks the tie.
The budget reconciliation process allows legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority vote instead of the 60 votes usually required. But it also contains limitations, prohibiting certain measures that do not affect the federal budget in particular ways. The parliamentarian determined that the minimum wage did not pass that test.
If the Senate passes the bill without the minimum wage increase and sends it back to the House, liberals will have to make peace with supporting it anyway. Raising the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour was some liberals top priority in the bill, and they were irate over the parliamentarian’s decision. Some called on Schumer to try to overturn it or move to eliminate the filibuster, the 60-vote threshold that protects minority rights in the Senate.