Speed Reads

coronavirus stimulus update

Senate passes budget bill paving the way for majority approval of Biden's $1.9 trillion aid package

The Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday morning, after a 15-hour "vote-a-rama" slog, unlocking the budget reconciliation process Democrats are likely to use to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The vote was 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the party-line tie at just after 5:30 a.m. The House is expected to act on the Senate's version of the bill within a day.

After the House passes the amended budget resolution, 25 committees in the House and Senate will start actually writing the legislation. Biden and Harris are meeting with congressional Democratic leaders and committee chairs Friday morning to discuss what comes next, but Democrats are hoping to get the legislation to Biden's desk before mid-March, when unemployment benefits expire.

From 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon until 5:30 a.m. Friday, the Senate considered some 45 amendments to the budget bill. A handful of them passed, but none will have the force of law, The Washington Post reports. You can expect to see some in campaign ads, however.