Vice President Kamala Harris used her tie-breaking vote in the Senate early Friday morning to pass a budget resolution that will allow for the passage of the Biden administration's proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.
"The yeas are 50, the nays are fifty, the Senate being equally divided, the Vice President votes in the affirmation, and the resolution, as amended, is adopted," Harris said as she presided over the representative body.
The vote to pass the resolution came after an all-night session wherein Republicans added additional resolutions, which though not binding, will put Democrats on the record as having voted either for or against a variety of issues, according to Reuters.
The budget resolution passed after Democrats forced it to a reconciliation vote, which bypasses the Senate filibuster, thereby requiring only a simple majority, while allowing any Senator to propose amendments.
Republicans were intending to get back at Democrats for effectively excluding them from the process by forcing a vote on a variety of issues from coronavirus relief for illegal immigrants to reaffirming US support for the Keystone XL pipeline. Seeking to score a strategic victory, Republicans managed to get Democrats to vote against the pipeline and for coronavirus aid to illegal immigrants in unison. Democrats also voted in unison against a Republican amendment to oppose the packing of the Supreme Court.
The bill provides general coronavirus relief already approved by Congress, while Democrats successfully added on a few amendments such as increasing funding to rural hospitals.
It includes extending unemployment benefits for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, more money for state and local governments, and more direct payments to Americans adding on to the $600 coronavirus relief checks passed by Congress in the final days of the Trump administration.
The budget passed by the Senate is not backed by law, and merely serves as a blueprint for a budget approved by Congress in the coming weeks.
The budget blueprint comes a month after Congress refused to pass a large stimulus package proposed during the Trump administration. Many observers alleged that the Democrats refused to pass the budget in order to score a political victory against Trump.
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