Friday, February 5, 2021

Senate Passes COVID Budget Resolution


Following a late night / early morning session, the Senate passed a budget resolution by a vote of 51 - 50 that will allow President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan to proceed without Republican votes through the reconciliation process if necessary. Vice President Harris cast the vote to break the 50 - 50 tie at around 5:30 a.m. Eastern time. The action now returns to the House, where changes made in the Senate will have to be approved or negotiated. Once the parameters have been set, Congressional committees will work on components of the bill, with the target of early March for passage and stimulus funds released. From the AP report:

"By moving on a fast track, the goal for Democrats is to have COVID relief approved by March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires. It’s an aggressive timeline that will test the ability of the new administration and Congress to deliver.

Biden, who has been meeting with lawmakers in recent days to discuss the package, will talk Friday at the White House with the House committee chairs who will be assembling the bill under the budget process known as 'reconciliation'”

There are expected to be adjustments within the overall budget ceiling, one of which involves eliminating payments to upper income earners and businesses which don't qualify as "small businesses."