The Senate has begun work on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie on a procedural vote allowing debate to proceed Thursday. But that debate quickly ground to a halt after Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson forced Senate clerks to read the entire text of the stimulus bill aloud — more than 100,000 words spanning 628 pages.
Senate clerk: “… as the 'American Rescue Plan Act of 2021'. SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS. The table of contents for this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title. Sec. 2. Table of contents. TITLE I—COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY. Subtitle A—Agriculture …”
The clerks began reading mid-afternoon on Thursday and finished after midnight — 10 hours and 43 minutes later. The legislation now heads to a session known as a vote-a-rama, where any senator will be able to offer an amendment that could drag out debate for hours — or even days.