On a party-line vote, the Senate passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Saturday, capping a marathon session that lasted nearly 26 hours.
Due to the absence of one Republican, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, who flew home Friday after the death of his father-in-law, the bill passed 50-49 in the evenly split house.
Due to Sullivan’s absence, Vice President Kamala Harris did not need to cast a tie-breaking vote in order for the Democrats to win.
After the vote, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “This Senate has never spent $2 trillion dollars in a more haphazard way.” “Democrats passed what they term the most progressive legislation in a decade on a razor-thin margin, despite voters electing a president who pledged unity and bipartisanship.”
To get to that point, Democrats defeated more than a dozen last-minute GOP amendments on Saturday, a process that greatly slowed the bill’s eventual passage and led to the 26-hour session that began before noon Friday.
Any of those votes could hurt moderate Democrats politically, as they were forced to oppose amendments that were thought to be common with swing voters.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz introduced a GOP amendment that would have prevented illegal immigrants from receiving stimulus funds. Another, proposed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, would have cut funding to schools that continue to close their doors to in-person education as the pandemic continues.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at the start of the debate, “It’s been a long day, but a new day has come.” “By passing this bill, we are signaling to the American people that support is on the way.”
The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives, which will have to vote on it again, this time without the minimum-wage increase that the House had included, and with the inclusion of a provision limiting the number of Americans receiving $1,400 stimulus checks.
New York is on track to receive as much as $70 billion in emergency aid from the bill.