US Senate passes President Joe Biden's 'America Rescue Plan'
Washington [US]: The US Senate on Saturday (local time) passed the USD 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan after a 12-hour struggle to get Senator Joe Manchin's support in President Joe Biden'sAmerica Rescue Plan'.
The vote was 50 to 49 on a party-line vote. This was the first legislative victory of the Democrats since gaining the majority at the Senate.
According to CNN, the Democrats kept a Senate roll call vote open for 11 hours and 50 minutes, the longest in recent history, as Senator Manchin signaled he would accept the Republicans' less generous proposal.
After a long negotiation, Manchin agreed to extend the USD 300 weekly unemployment benefits through September 6, a month earlier than what was proposed by the Democrats.
"We have reached a compromise that enables the economy to rebound quickly while also protecting those receiving unemployment benefits from being hit with unexpected tax bills next year," said Manchin in a statement.
According to The Hill, the Senate was in session for more than 24 hours, including all night Friday and well into Saturday, ahead of the final vote as Democrats fended off attempts by GOP (Grand Old Party) senators to make changes to the legislation.
The first amendment vote had begun at 11:03 am and was kept open for about 12 hours due to negotiation on a deal on unemployment.
Republicans were even able to temporarily get in their amendment to lower the payments to USD 300 per week through mid-July, but in the end, Democrats agreed to provide a USD 300-per-week payment until September 6, lining up with a deal the party announced on Friday night, The Hill stated.
The legislation will now go back to the House for a final vote and then Joe Biden will sign in into law.
The nearly USD 2 trillion package includes up to USD 1,400 stimulus checks to many Americans, and billions of dollars for states and municipalities, schools, small businesses and vaccine distribution, CNN said.
"Our goal has been to secure the strongest possible protections for jobless Americans that could pass the Senate," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden on the final deal.
On Friday (local time), White House press secretary Jen Psaki quoted Biden as saying that he "supports the compromise agreement, and is grateful to all the Senators who worked so hard to reach this outcome." (ANI)