The US House approved a Senate-amended budget measure on Friday, effectively establishing a pathway to advancing Biden’s economic relief plan.
The measure cleared the House with 219 lawmakers voting in favor and 209 voting against the resolution. Although the vote did largely come down along party lines, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) joined Republicans in voting against the budget resolution.
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) February 5, 2021
With the shell bill having passed both chambers of the US Congress, Democrats will begin working out the details of the COVID-19 relief package over the next several weeks, with a deadline of February 16.
Lawmakers will be doing so in line with instructions the resolution contains for congressional committees as part of the budget reconciliation process Democrats tapped to push legislation without needing Republican support.
Instructions within the resolution touch on Biden’s call for $1,400 stimulus checks to the public, funding for the national COVID-19 strategy, increases on child tax credits and an extension of the emergency unemployment benefits which are due to run out in March.
The US House had already passed the resolution earlier this week, when two Democrats voted against the effort; however, the chamber was forced to hold a revote on Friday after Senate lawmakers opted to amend the measure.
The Senate’s passage, which came down to a 51-50 vote after US Vice President Kamala Harris broke a tie, followed hours of voting on amendments in what became a marathon “vote-a-rama.” The hours-long process highlighted a variety of contentious issues, such as limits on who may be eligible for stimulus checks and a move to increase the minimum wage.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters earlier in the day that she anticipates the House will be sending a bill to the Senate sometime within the next two weeks so that lawmakers can avoid a pause in the unemployment benefits.
It’s unclear when the Senate may take up the measure, as senators are gearing up for the start of Trump’s second impeachment trial next week.
For his part, Biden has signaled that he would like for the COVID-19 relief plan to be passed with bipartisan support, but acknowledged to the American public during a Friday address that he would do so without Republican support if he needed to. The president said that the GOP is “just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go."