Senate votes to fast track COVID Relief Package
The Senate votes were split down the middle in the voting to fast track COVID relief package; but Vice President Kamala Harris made political news by delivering her first deciding vote; allowing the measure to pass with a 51-50 vote. It was an all-night session in the Senate; with senators going back and forth on amendments that would affect the final bill. The final vote eventually came at around 5:30 am and it will pave the way for the next step in the process
The Republicans and Democrats have been at odds in regards the $1.9 trillion relief package put forth by President Joe Biden. Earlier this week; a group of Republican lawmakers met with the President at the White House in an effort to push a $600 billion package that the GOP believes is a better option. It seems as if the President is determined to stick with the original plan; as the Senate voted on Friday morning to fast-track covid relief package for $1.9 trillion
The next step
Will see the relief package head back to the Democratic controlled House; who will more than likely vote on it sometime on Friday. Once that is complete, the bill will then end up in the hands of several different congressional committees; whose job it will be to put together the final version of the bill.
The goal of fast-tracking the bill, as the Senate did on Friday morning; is to ensure that it is in place by March. The timing here is important, as March is the month when the current package runs outs; which would mean the end of unemployment assistance for the millions of Americans still out of work due to the pandemic. The road to employment recovery has not been good; with just 49,000 jobs added in January, a far cry from the 227,000 jobs that were lost in December. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 6.7%; but the workforce is still roughly 9.9 million jobs short of where it was a prior to the pandemic.
President Biden is expected to speak; at the White House on Friday as he looks to put pressure on Congress to get the relief package done as quickly as possible. Besides the unemployment assistance, the package also includes direct payments to citizens and money for the distribution of vaccines.
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