- The Senate Friday approved a budget measure that paves the way for President Biden’s stimulus bill.
- The vote was split along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker.
- The resolution means that Biden can pass the stimulus bill with no GOP support.
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The US Senate early Friday morning passed a budget resolution that paves the way for Congress to approve President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
The vote was split along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote for the resolution to be approved 51 votes to 50 at around 5:35 a.m.
It was Harris’ first tie-breaking Senate vote since her election as vice president, with the Senate evenly split between Democratic and Republican senators.
The resolution will allow Democrats to pass Biden’s stimulus bill with no GOP support.
With the tool, Democrats can pass the stimulus bill with a simple majority vote, evading potential GOP blocking tactics that would have otherwise required a two-thirds Senate majority vote to override.
The resolution was passed as part of an all-night marathon of amendment votes known as a “vote-a-rama.”
It will now be sent to the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives for ratification.
The process by lawmakers and government officials of crafting Biden’s relief bill can now begin in earnest. Biden is still seeking bipartisan backing for a stimulus bill.
Any measures and compromises agreed with GOP senators as part of negotiations can still be built into the stimulus bill, which could then be passed with Republican support meaning Democrats wouldn’t need the resolution tool approved Friday.
The size of direct payment checks are among the issues dividing Republicans and Democrats, with Biden pushing for $1,400 checks and Republicans wanting $1,000 checks.
Democrats are aiming to push through the stimulus bill by March 14, when special unemployment benefits expire unless Congress acts to renew them.