Vote-a-rama Ends with Senate Narrowly Passing $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

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Posted: Mar 06, 2021 12:50 PM
Vote-a-rama Ends with Senate Narrowly Passing $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The United States Senate on Saturday passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan. The bill was passed 50-49 after "vote-a-rama," which occurred an all-night session. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) was absent for the votes because of a family funeral back home.

The legislation nows heads back to the House of Representatives. The lower chamber has to vote on the bill before it heads to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

The 27-hour long session was the longest in recent history. A large chunk of time – 10 hours and 44 minutes – was used to read the 628-page bill out loud, which came at Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-WI) request.

The bill includes another round of stimulus checks. Individuals making less than $75,000 will receive a $1,400 check. Couples earning less than $150,000 will receive a combined $2,800. As an individual or couple's income increases, their stimulus amount decreases. Those payments, however, would phase out at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples. 

One area of contention was extended unemployment benefits, which Democrats needed moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to sign off on. Eventually, a deal was struck for $300 per week unemployment benefits, which was extended until Sept. 6. The House's version called for $400 a week in unemployment benefits, but those benefits would expire on Aug. 29. Families making less than $150,000 would receive the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits taxfree.