Senate Democrats plan to force their massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the Senate this week, despite GOP claims that the bill is full of pork-barrel spending that has nothing to do with combating coronavirus in America.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate will pass the bill this week "no matter how long it takes," even as Democrats wait for confirmation that they can use reconciliation, a tactic used to force bills through Congress with a simple majority rather than the 60 votes normally required.
“The Senate is going to move forward with the bill. No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday.
Despite reconciliation, Republicans plan to delay the bill’s passage with an "infinity" vote-a-rama, a time when senators are allowed to propose and force a vote on potential amendments.
Republicans oppose the massive relief package due to their concerns over costly provisions in the bill that they believe are politically motivated and irrelevant to combating COVID-19 in America. According to Fox News, these provisions include “$750,000,000 for the global response to COVID-19, $270,000,000 in arts and humanities endowments, $200,000,000 for museums and libraries, $50,000,000 in family planning funding, raising of the minimum wage, expansion of medicaid and obamacare, expansion of the paycheck protection program, funding for the “activities of one or more equity commissions,” and multiemployer pensions plans bailout.”
Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) intends to delay the Senate vote himself by having Senate floor staff read every word of the 628-page relief bill, which could take up to 10 hours.
Schumer addressed Johnson's plan on Thursday saying, “We all know this will merely delay the inevitable. It will accomplish little more than a few sore throats for the Senate clerks who work very hard.”
“The senator from Wisconsin wants to give the American people another opportunity to hear what’s in the American Rescue plan. We Democrats want America to hear what’s in the plan,” he added.
Democrats are expected to begin the Senate vote Thursday afternoon.