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Senate to consider $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

Senators started debating the American Rescue Plan after Vice President Harris cast the tie-breaking vote on the motion to proceed in the Senate Chamber.

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On Thursday, the US Senate is set to begin debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The House of Representatives passed a version of the aid bill on February 27.

WI Senator Ron Johnson plans to make Senate clerks read the entire bill ahead of debate. Senators will have up to 20 hours of time to debate the legislation. The chamber will then vote on a series of proposed amendments to the relief package. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expects to pass the Senate bill by the end of the week.

Vice President Kamala Harris broke the 50-50 tie in the vote to proceed on the $1.9 trillion relief bill. GOP Senator Ron Johnson then forced the clerks to read the 600+ page bill, which could take several hours.

Not a single Senate Republican voted to proceed on the American Rescue Plan.

“It’s confounding,” Schumer said. “When Donald Trump was president, they were willing to vote for a total of over $3 trillion in aid. Now that Pres. Biden is president, and the economy is in the same pickle, generally speaking, now they don’t want to vote for a nickel. I wonder why.”

Schumer said Democrats are ready to move forward on the Senate version of the American Rescue Plan.

On Wednesday, Feb 27, President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass his proposed $1.9 trillion bill saying that if legislation is enacted now, the country can finally get ahead of the COVID-19 virus, which has killed over 500,000 Americans.

“The people of this country have suffered far too much for too long,” Biden said. “We need to relieve that suffering. The American Rescue Plan does just that: It relieves the suffering. And it’s time to act.”

Democrats lowered the income caps for the $1,400 stimulus checks yesterday. Here are the phase-out levels: $75,000 for single filers, capped at $80,000; $112,500 for heads of households, capped at $120,000; $150,000 for joint filers, capped at $160,000.

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