A budget resolution had empowered Democrats to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package via a process called reconciliation procedure. Although voting resulted to 50-50 votes between Democratic and Republican senators, Vice President Kamala Harris exercised her duty to break the tie, by voting in favor of the Democrat’s “Yea” votes.
Still, during the overnight session, the Senate voting resulted in the exclusion of an immediate increase of the national minimum wage from the present $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour. Majority of the senators voted in favor of tailoring the $1,400 direct payments to qualify only the low-income earners.
Apparently, the changes had already been discussed in a previous meeting held at the White House with the top leaders of the Democrats. They all agreed that there is a need to immediately pass and enact the $1.9 trillion relief package to enable the government to battle the still ongoing pandemic that has already claimed more than 450k American lives, whilst putting millions out of work.
President Biden Settled for Compromises to Avoid Lengthy Negotiations
Although Biden said he was willing to compromise with Republicans, he rejected the $600 billion relief package suggested by the Republicans. Still, the President said that he’d settle for some compromise just so the passing of the bill won’t be slowed down by long drawn out negotiations.
President Biden said that it was a matter of choosing getting help to Americans right away to Americans who have been hurting badly, instead of having the relief package be delayed by lengthy discussions and negotiations. According to the President, the data showing that the job market is still showing a continuing weakness is proof that the government must take a more aggressive course of action.
In a related announcement, Democrstic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi projected that the final passing of the COVID-19 relief bill would pass before the recently released special unemployment benefits expires on March 15, 2021.