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Friday, April 16, 2021

Senate moves a step closer to COVID relief bill

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Senate moves a step closer to COVID relief bill
Senate moves a step closer to COVID relief bill

The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to take up President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill, setting up what is likely to be a contentious, days-long debate over the merits of the sweeping package.

This report produced by Jillian Kitchener.

SCHUMER: “The time is now to move forward with big, bold, strong relief for the American people.” The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted along party lines to take up President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill.

And with that - a likely days-long debate over the sweeping package begins.

Democrats can expect very little Republican support, if any, for the measure - which Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said contained too many unrelated provisions: “All that interested democrats was a partisan hodgepodge of largely non-covid-related items.” The relief bill is Biden's top legislative priority and includes funding for vaccines, extends jobless benefits, provides more aid to households, small businesses and state and local governments.

Republican Senator John Kennedy pushed back on the size: “Maybe together we can make this bill better and get rid of some of the spending porn, as I call it.

And do the job that the American people sent us here to do.” But before any of that could begin - Republicans had arranged a reading of the more than 600-page bill… a process that could take ten hours or so.

Senate Democrats have tweaked the House bill to ensure that all 50 of their members in the 100-seat chamber support the package, allowing it - with the help of Vice President Kamala Harris - to pass without ANY Republican support.

A final vote could come over the weekend.

Opinion polls indicate broad public support.

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