The inclusion of the amendment in President Joe Biden’s stimulus package broke the logjam in the Senate’s discussion of the plan on Friday.
The vote in favor of the extra $300 per week for unemployment in the Biden Administration’s stimulus package expedited Senate discussion Friday of the $1.9 trillion bill.
However, the breakthrough did not prevent the process of tabling and evaluating amendments from extending into the early hours of Saturday morning.
The process known as “vote-to-rama” in which different amendments are debated and some are approved resumed shortly before midnight Friday after 12 hours of stalemate over the debate related to unemployment insurance funds.
Progressive and moderate Democratic senators had already talked yesterday morning about the agreement to lower payments from $400 to $300 a week extra until Sept. 6.
Finally, before 1 a.m. today, the amendment was approved 50 to 49 after a meeting between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who has held the middle ground between members of his delegation and Republicans.
The amendment that reduced the divisions was introduced by Democratic Senator Tom Carper, D-Delaware.
The new provision also establishes that the first $10,200 received for unemployment will not be taxable for households with incomes of less than $150,000. In addition, the tax rules related to the limitations for excessive business losses were extended until 2026.
Manchin initially favored an amendment introduced by Republican Senator Rob Portman that would have reduced the extra weekly benefit to $300, but the relief would only be extended through June.
Most of the amendments that were evaluated on an expedited basis before midnight came from Republicans and were aimed at extending the debate and leading Democrats to consider politically divisive issues.
It is unclear how much longer the amendment process will take.
Although Schumer has insisted that the Senate will vote by Monday on the final bill, Republicans continue to add strategies to stall the proceedings.
Failed motion to postpone debate
Yesterday, for example, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to postpone the discussion until Saturday at 10 a.m.
McConnell’s motion failed to disrupt the legislative process on Friday, but it is yet another sign that members of the Republican minority are not willing to give in so easily to clear the way for the Democrats in their goal of passing the $1.9 trillion “American Bailout Plan” being pushed by the Biden Administration as soon as possible.