Senate Approves Resolution For Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Package, 51-50
Thursday night’s marathon “vote-a-rama” session resulted in the Senate endorsed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tiebreaker at 5:30 a.m on Friday morning. During the 15-hour overnight voting session, over 800 amendments were offered.
Senators voted to delay a minimum wage increase, one of Biden’s main proposals. Biden’s stimulus package proposed raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The rejection came after a proposal by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to bar a minimum wage increase during a pandemic. Ernst claimed that “a $15 federal minimum wage would be devastating for our hardest-hit small businesses at a time they can least afford it. We should not have a one-size-fits-all policy set by Washington politicians.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) did not contest Ernst’s amendment, noting that he did not seek to raise the minimum wage during a pandemic. However, he did indicate that he wanted a phased-in wage increase included in the reconciliation bill. A phased-in increase can be approved using a simple-majority vote.
A number of Republican proposals failed to pass in the Senate, including one to block funding for schools that do not conduct in-person classes after teachers are vaccinated. Nonetheless, Democrats approved an amendment from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Rick Scott (R-Florida) to prohibit tax increases for small businesses during the pandemic.