Kamala Harris: US Senate approves budget bill as Kamala Harris casts tie-breaker vote

Kamala Harris: US Senate approves budget bill as Kamala Harris casts tie-breaker vote

Washington: The Senate early Friday approved a budget proposal that is an important step toward the fast-track path to President Joe Biden’s USD 1.9 trillion coronovirus relief plan without Republican support. Vice-President Kamala Harris was on the chair to cast a tie-break vote, her first. Democrats in the Chamber announced 51–50 votes at about 5:30 pm following Harris’s announcement. The action followed an all-night session where senators voted on amendments that could define the context of the final COVID-19 aid bill.
The budget now returns to the House, where it will have to be approved again due to changes made by the Senate. The final route would unlock the next step in drafting the virus relief bill, with work divided between several congressional committees.
Leading Senate Leader Chuck Schumer DN.Y., the passage of the proposal “the first major step to get our country back on the road to recovery.”
Moving at a rapid pace, Democrats aim to have COVID relief approved by March, when additional unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid ceases. It is an aggressive timeline that will test the ability to deliver to the new administration and Congress.
Biden, who has been meeting with lawmakers in recent days to discuss the package, will speak at the White House on Friday with House committee chairmen who will be combining the bill, known as “reconciliation”, as part of the budget process.
The marathon session brought the test vote on several Democratic priorities, including the $ 15 minimum wage. By voice vote, the Senate adopted an amendment from Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, opposing the pay raise during the epidemic. Ernst said wage increases would be “disastrous” for small businesses at this time.
Any amendment to the budget is not binding on Democrats as they draft their COVID plan, but passing wage increases may prove difficult. Even though USD 15’s wage final bill may have previous procedural challenges, the passage would require support from every Democrat in the 50-50 Senate, which could be a tall order.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a vocal proponent of the wage increase, vowed to press further. “We need to end the hunger wage crisis,” he said.

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