Washington (CNN) — The U.S. Senate is gearing up for a marathon effort and a night of voting on the amendments before lawmakers take a final vote on the president’s $ 1.9 trillion pandemic aid bill. Joe Biden. But it is not clear exactly when it will take place.
A procedural move to promote the bill now appears to be on the way. to vote this Thursday, a Senate Democratic adviser told CNN. Democratic leaders were still waiting Wednesday night for the official cost estimate before bringing the recently revised bill to plenary.
Democrats say the legislation is urgently needed to address the continuing devastation of the pandemic. Republicans, on the other hand, have denounced the bill as a partisan measure packed with liberal priorities and are signaling that they will not let it advance to a final vote without fighting and dragging out the process.
In addition to forcing a full reading of the bill, which could take 10 hours, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has indicated that he could take steps to extend the time frame to consider the legislation and any amendments offered to him.
“I think it would be a good idea,” he told CNN when asked if he would force the reading of each amendment. “We’re talking about $ 1.9 trillion… a billion dollar pile that would stretch half the distance to the Moon. And we want to do this in a matter of hours? I don’t think it’s correct.
Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana echoed that sentiment. “There is so much in this bill that needs to be discussed,” he said, adding, “My feeling is that we are going to spend some time pointing out what we don’t like about it.”
At some point, the Senate is expected to move to one vote per branch, a tradition in the House that generally involves large numbers of votes on amendments that can drag on for hours and last until late at night. Lawmakers frequently use it to force tough votes that leave opposing party members on the record on controversial issues.
Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin said of the process: “Members start with a lot of amendments and great determination and eventually it comes down to a handful of amendments and no resolutions. People just want to get out of here.
The Illinois Democrat added: “It is not for public policy debate. It’s an endurance competition and a catching competition, and I think the Senate should rise to a higher level. “
Adjustments to the bill put Democratic unity to the test
In one of the latest developments related to the legislation, Biden agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to reduce income eligibility for the next round of stimulus checks of $ 1,400 included in the Senate bill, a Democratic source told CNN on Wednesday.
However, the change has frustrated progressives. Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic congresswoman from Washington state, told reporters Wednesday that she needs to see more specifically what changes the Senate is making to the package. I don’t like it to come down to this. I feel that survival checks are the easiest, simplest, most popular populist proposition.
He added that he is “looking to see what the whole package looks like.”
Senate and House Democrats are facing their first major test of unity in the new Congress and for the new administration. With an evenly divided Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris is the runoff, Senate Democrats have no margin for error. The narrow Democratic majority in the House of Representatives also leaves little room for maneuver.
Once the Senate passes your version of the bill, it will need to be approved once more by the House of Representatives before heading to the president’s desk for signature.
– CNN’s Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism