BY: TRISH TURNER AND ALLISON PECORIN, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) – After more than 25 hours of debate and voting, Senate Democrats passed a comprehensive $ 1.9 trillion COVID relief bill on Saturday to help low-income Americans, small businesses, schools, the hardest-hit hospitality and tourism industries should state and local governments – with help also the pandemic on the front line, vaccines, test and traceability plans are promoted.
The bill was passed on a party line and is now being sent back to the House of Representatives, which must bring some key changes into line before it gets to President Joe Biden’s desk just days before unemployment benefits for millions of Americans run out.
In the evenly-divided Senate, moderate Democrats have won important changes to House Legislation. According to the White House, after his personal participation, the President, along with high-ranking aides, supports lobbying for compromise members.
Democratic leaders were forced to cut weekly unemployment benefits from $ 400 to $ 300 by September 6th. The first $ 10,200 of income for unemployed Americans earning less than $ 150,000 would be tax-free.
The debate over these unemployment benefits paralyzed the Senate for hours on Friday night when moderate Democrat Joe Manchin threatened to change a deal among the Democrats on how unemployment benefits should be treated in the bill. The final agreement was backed by Manchin and gave up a party line.
Another concession from the Democratic leadership came in the form of direct payments of $ 1,400. Under the Senate bill, full payments will go to those earning less than $ 75,000 and couples earning up to $ 150,000. However, partial payments will only go to people earning less than $ 80,000 and couples earning less than $ 160,000. That means many who qualified for previous rounds of aid payments won’t get any this time.
Once this new package has received the Biden seal of approval, payments are expected to be distributed quickly. In previous rounds of coronavirus relief, people received direct payments within days of the president signing the bill.
The Democrats also agreed to oblige schools to come up with a plan to reopen, but rejected numerous Republican amendments aimed at forcing schools to reopen or losing valuable federal aid.
However, the last law provides funding for many of Biden’s key campaign pledges in the field of aid. The bill includes a child tax credit that gives families $ 3,000 per child per year, $ 350 billion for state, local, and tribal governments, $ 50 billion for contact tracing, $ 16 billion for vaccine distribution, 130 Billions of dollars in K-12 education, funds for rent and rent received mortgage aid, support for restaurants and bars, funding for nutrition programs and more
Republicans were united in their opposition to the package. For weeks, Republicans have been criticizing the Democrats for unwilling to work across the aisle to pinpoint spending in what they have called a “liberal wish list” bill.
When minority leader Mitch McConnell entered the debate on Friday, he vowed that Republicans would – and they did – offer dozens of legislative changes in an overnight marathon election session.
Republicans who wanted to take on Biden in 2024 took top spots and proposed amendments, as did those who wanted to derail the Democrats in tough races in 2022 – regulations regarding protected cities, abortion, contested governments. Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom who opened schools, transgender students in sports, undocumented immigrants and more were offered.
Almost all GOP proposals failed in party line votes. Alaskan Republican Dan Sullivan was absent from the series of votes, relieving Vice President Kamala Harris of her groundbreaking duties.
Biden had asked the Democrats to stand together and thwart the “poison pill” changes – and for the most part they did.
Manchin voted with Republicans on an amendment from Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., That would have cut spending on schools that allow transgender students to participate in girls’ sports. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, crossed the party lines in a rare move to oppose the amendment.
The house could take up the package passed by the Senate as early as Tuesday next week.
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