On Friday, Senate Democrats approved a budget resolution that will allow them to pass coronavirus relief without GOP support. The resolution passed the Senate in a 50-50 party-line vote with Vice President Harris breaking the tie.
The budget resolution is the first step for Democrats to be able to pass a subsequent coronavirus relief bill that can bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster in the Senate.
“We have moved forward. Many bipartisan amendments were adopted. …This was a giant first step,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said after the vote. “We will keep working as hard as we can to pass this legislation through the House, through the Senate as we go through the reconciliation process and hopefully put it on the president’s desk.”
The budget, effectively a shell bill, authorizes a $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill and includes instructions to congressional committees on drafting the legislation under reconciliation, the tool Democrats are using to sideline Republicans in the Senate.
President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion plan that includes a $1,400 direct stimulus payment, a $400 per week federal unemployment benefit, $350 billion for state and local governments, a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour and more money for things like childcare, schools and vaccine distribution.
Democrats now have to craft and negotiate the coronavirus legislation. If they try to pass a bill without GOP support, they’ll need near-universal support from House Democrats and every vote of the 50-member Senate Democratic caucus.
Because senators made changes to the resolution, it now bounces back to the House where lawmakers will need to pass it for a second time as soon as Friday.