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Sat Mar 6, 2021, 01:18 PM

After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan



https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/6/2019700/-After-marathon-session-and-Manchin-antics-Senate-ready-to-pass-American-Rescue-Plan

After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Saturday March 06, 2021 · 12:05 PM EST


The longest vote in Senate history finally ended Friday night at 10:53, ET having started at 11:03 AM. That vote was on Sen. Bernie Sanders' minimum wage hike to $15/hour, but the delay wasn't about the minimum wage. The vote was held open for 12 hours while Sen. Joe Manchin preened, forcing all of Senate leadership to court him as he held up an agreement on helping unemployed people. He got what he apparently wanted: a phone call from President Joe Biden.

Manchin was threatening to support a Republican amendment that would have dramatically restricted assistance to the unemployed, reducing the weekly emergency pandemic boost of $400 in the House bill to their checks to $300, and would have ended the program in mid-July. Republicans courted Manchin all afternoon while Democrats scrambled to get him on board with a last-minute agreement they'd come to with the White House. In the end, Manchin voted for both the Republican and Democratic amendments, with the Democratic one prevailing. What he got in forcing the Senate to a standstill for a day was shaving one month off the expiration date for the program.

The Democratic amendment from Sen. Ron Wyden gives unemployed people the $300/week federal boost to their regular checks through September 6. The agreement that he had secured with leadership and the White House would have added another month onto that, ending in the first week of October. Critically, though, Wyden prevailed on making sure that the first $10,200 in UI received in 2020 will be tax-free, meaning people won't be hit with surprise tax bills. Manchin did secure means testing on that—it will only apply to people with less than $150,000 in income for 2020. Importantly, though, even with the reduction in weekly benefits, the official poverty rate drops from 12.3% to 8.3% under Democratic plan, according to poverty experts.

Sen. Rob Portman was the Republican luring Manchin into the fold, and his efforts revealed exactly what Republicans really think about tax cuts. Namely, they should only go to the wealthy. "Suddenly, if you're on unemployment insurance you don't have to pay taxes. But if you're working, you do have to pay taxes. How does that work?" Portman said during the debate on the Democrats' amendment. This is the only tax cut Republicans will ever oppose, the one that actually helps working Americans, Wyden pointed out in response. "The party that claims to want to help workers on their taxes," he rejoins, "won't lift a finger."

That issue finally worked out, the Senate got to work on a variety of Republican poisoned pill amendments, after rejecting a bid by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to adjourn the Senate for the night. Republicans are short one vote in this process, as Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan had to fly home for a family emergency. That gives Vice President Kamala Harris a break, she has not been needed to break ties on any amendments.

Out of the nearly 600 Republican amendments, only a fraction were brought to the floor and most were defeated. Sen. Susan Collins tried to replace the entire bill with her $650 billion proposal and failed, though oddly Sen Josh Hawley voted with Democrats on that one. Sen. Marco Rubio tried to tie funding to schools to reopening for in-person instruction, and failed. An alternative amendment from Democrat Maggie Hassan was adopted, requiring that elementary and secondary schools that receive aid release their plans for a "safe return to in-person instruction" within 30 days of receiving the funds.

The worst poison came from freshman Republican Tommy Tuberville, an anti-trans effort that would have stripped federal funding to "States, local educational agencies, and institutions of higher education that permit any student whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity designed for women or girls." It required 60 votes, but failed on party lines anyway. With two exceptions: Manchin voted for it, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski against. Another attempt from Sen. Ted Cruz to bar undocumented immigrants from getting the survival checks failed, with Democrats holding together against him.

Those survival checks, by the way, have not been altered from the last agreement Democrats came to: $1,400 one-time payment to everyone, adults and children including adult dependents; people making up to $75,000/annually, $150,000 for couple filing jointly, receive the full payments, cutting off at $80,000 for single people, $160,000 for couples. That is based on 2019 income for those who have not filed their 2020 returns yet, so if you had a big loss of income in 2020, get your taxes filed.

The Senate is rumored to be looking at a 12:30 ET timeline for wrapping votes up Saturday, at which point the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, as it has been changed pretty substantially from that version.

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Reply After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan (Original post)
babylonsister Mar 6 OP
Champion Jack Mar 6 #1
TwilightZone Mar 6 #2

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 01:30 PM

1. What exactly is Manchin trying to do?

Keep his name in the papers?
Prep his constituents for when he switches to GOP?
He just likes to troll?

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Response to Champion Jack (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 01:32 PM

2. It's called negotiation.

In the real world of politics, it's required more often than not. He got some of what he wanted and the bill still passed, as was almost assuredly always going to be the case.

Welcome to politics.

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