Tax Update Blog

Senate begins debate on $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue bill

March 4, 2021 | Blog
By Jay Heflin

The Senate on Thursday afternoon voted 51-50 to begin debate on its COVID-19 relief bill. The vote was along party lines (50/50). Vice President Kamala Harris was in the chamber and broke the tie.

The chamber has 20 hours to debate the merits of the legislation and offer amendments to it.

However, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is expected to require that the Senate staff read the entire bill, which spans over 500 pages, before the 20 hours of debate begins. If Johnson follows through on this expectation, the debate on the bill will likely begin early Friday morning.

After the conclusion of the debate, the Senators will vote on the amendments to the bill. As stated in my prior email, this is expected to be a time-consuming process that could stretch into the weekend.

Once votes on amendments are completed, the chamber will vote on final passage of the relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he has the 51 votes needed to pass the legislation. The vote on final passage is expected to occur over the weekend.


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