Senate begins debate on Covid relief bill after limiting $1,400 checks, adding other spending

Democrats cleared the procedural hurdle on a vote of 51-50, without any Republican support.

3/4/2021 11:54:00 PM

DEVELOPING: Democratic-controlled Senate votes to begin debate on President Biden's $1.9T coronavirus relief package in a party line vote that sets the stage for a contentious process with Republicans.

Democrats cleared the procedural hurdle on a vote of 51-50, without any Republican support.

01:20Other changes include boosting the health care subsidies under COBRA for jobless people from 85 percent to 100 percent, and making all Covid-19 student loan relief tax-free, said a Senate Democratic aide. There's also another $200 million for Amtrak, $510 million for homeless services under FEMA and $175 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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The Senate bill also slaps new"guardrails" on the $350 billion for state and local relief, the Democratic aide said. That provision is a leading target of Republican opposition.The legislation also provides $8.5 billion in relief for rural health care providers. Sen. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, has pushed for extra funding in that area.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted the Democratic bill as a"partisan spending spree" shortly before Thursday's procedural vote.Before a final vote can be taken, there will be a period of unlimited amendments, known as a vote-a-rama. Republicans say they are planning to try to put Democrats on the spot with myriad amendments, forcing them to defend politically contentious provisions in the bill. That will likely include motions to"strike" certain policies.

Read more: MSNBC »

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thereidout All due respect.... hardship also hits red states.... their constituents needs the $$$$.... stop gaslighting n do what’s right for your constituents not your fucking personal $$$$$ Hope the Dems grow some backbone and unite as one and get it done that include Manchin who appears as a closet Republican and the Arizona lady to join the the part and get things passed making Democracy stronger and preventing voter suppression GO USA

Do your job Democrats. You have control of the senate. Tell the trumplicans to just set down and shut up. And trumplicans have done enough damage already Let's get it done as soon as possible and start to move the economy e create some jobs as it still low. There is no longer a way to get anything done in the Senate with the current cast of Republicans. Get rid of the filibuster and Democrats can pass programs that would benefit most Americans and allow them to control all three branches of government for years to come.

thereidout So much for unity, amirite, GOP? Push these Bills thru Congress like they are a fundamental christian scotus nominee