Mar 05, 2021
Senate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill
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Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerRon Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade MORE (D-N.Y.) held open a vote on a minimum wage amendment for a record 11 hours and 50 minutes Friday to buy time to save the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill after Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-W.Va.) raised an unexpected objection.
The vote was finally closed at 10:53 p.m.
It took Schumer, with the help of President Biden, nearly nine hours to negotiate a deal with Manchin. But even then, they had to wait for the legislative text to be drafted and for a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.
The vote broke the record set on June 28, 2019, when senators kept a vote on an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill open for 10 hours and eight minutes to accommodate Democratic presidential candidates who participated in a debate in Miami.
The Senate floor was largely empty for hours as different Democratic senators presiding over the chamber held open a procedural vote on an amendment by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent Ron Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package MORE (I-Vt.) to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The Senate started voting on the Sanders amendment at 11:03 a.m. and by 12:15 p.m. it appeared all senators had voted. The amendment was defeated after seven Democrats and an independent voted with all 50 Republicans to sustain a procedural objection.
But the presiding chair declined to gavel the vote to a close even after there were no more votes to count, while a few lawmakers huddled on the floor, shuffling papers on desks.
At first the delay was attributed to a relatively routine dispute over what amendments would next come to the floor.
It turned into something more serious when it became clear that Manchin was willing to vote for an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMandel gets Club for Growth nod in Ohio Senate primary Rick Scott caught in middle of opposing GOP factions Five takeaways from dramatic Capitol security hearing MORE (R-Ohio) to reduce the amount of weekly unemployment benefits in the relief bill from $400 to $300 and extend those benefits to July 18 instead of Aug. 29, as passed by the House.
If Manchin voted for the Republican amendment, it had a good chance of passing and would have derailed a more generous compromise amendment sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenProgressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package Overnight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period MORE (D-Ore.) and Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperBiden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure Five takeaways from dramatic Capitol security hearing Democrats worry Senate will be graveyard for Biden agenda MORE (D-Del.). The Wyden-Carper deal would have reduced the weekly benefit from $400 to $300 but would have extended payments to Oct. 4. It also would forgive taxes on the first $10,200.
Senators left the floor and there was no announcement from the leadership about what the problem was or how long it might take to resolve. Lawmakers fumed as the minutes turned into hours. They thought they would be well-through the marathon session by Friday evening, but when dinner time rolled around, the chamber was still stuck on the first vote.
“If we were doing this, you’d be all over us. We couldn’t get five feet down the hall,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB after Tanden withdrawal MORE (R-S.C.) grumbled to reporters.
“Why did you put the Senate on hold for five-and-a-half hours because you won’t let two Republicans work with a Democrat to do something they want to do,” he said of the Democrats’ effort to freeze votes to persuade Manchin not to support the Republican amendment.
“They’ve been working their members over since 11 o’clock,” said Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Rick Scott caught in middle of opposing GOP factions Democrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill MORE (S.D.). “They had an alternative amendment they’ve trying to whip and they’ve had problems trying to get votes for that.”
Many senators took refuge in their hide-away offices scattered around the Capitol waiting for word on when a deal would be reached on unemployment benefits.
All the while Schumer, Biden, Wyden and Carper were working feverishly behind the scenes to hammer out a deal with Manchin.
Carper told Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal MORE (R-Texas) at around 6 p.m. that negotiators “were stuck.”
The stalemate on the floor recalled a similar maneuver that then-Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Tear down this fence and end the lockdowns Feehery: How Republicans can win by focusing on schools Feehery: The Floridian the Democrats really fear MORE (R-Ill.) used in 2003 to save President George W. Bush’s initiative to create the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Hastert kept a vote on the legislation open for nearly three hours. After 30 minutes of voting, the bill was set to lose 212 to 214. Hastert kept the vote open to give Bush time to call lawmakers to plead for their support. The Speaker finally allowed the vote to gavel close shortly before 6 a.m. after it garnered 220 votes.
It set the record for the longest roll call vote in the history of the House.Tags Charles Schumer Lindsey Graham Bernie Sanders Dennis Hastert Rob Portman John Cornyn Joe Manchin Tom Carper John Thune Ron Wyden Joe Biden Senate Coronavirus COVID-19 Stimulus COVID-19 relief
News Source: thehill.com
Tags: pentagon policy nominee biden’s pentagon policy pentagon policy biden’s pentagon ’t oppose bill the republican amendment pentagon unemployment benefits ’t oppose relief bill bernie sanders the democrats on the first a procedural on the floor minimum wage a vote the chamber held open joe manchin the vote turned into
Murkowski breaks ranks to advance controversial Biden nominee
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