On Capitol Hill, Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate this morning to approve a budget bill, clearing the way for Democrats to pass a coronavirus relief package. The vote capped 15 straight hours of amendment votes in an all-night session nicknamed a “vote-a-rama.”
Overnight, Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders deflected a bid by Iowa Republican Joni Ernst to force a vote on immediately doubling the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which she thought would fail. Sanders’s move preserves a bid by Democrats to gradually double the minimum wage by 2025. At least one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, is on the record opposing a minimum wage of $15.
Next week, House Democrats expect to introduce a coronavirus relief package similar to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal. Democrats are planning to pass the legislation using the budget reconciliation process, which needs the approval of a simple majority of senators.