The Senate is considering making changes to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan passed by the House on Friday, The Hill reported on Sunday.
Senate Democrats are hoping to have the bill signed by mid-March, with Sen. Dick Durbin insisting that “we don’t want to derail reconciliation. We want to do something that’s politically feasible with House cooperation.”
This followed comments by President Joe Biden urging the Senate to take quick action, saying “We have no time to waste. If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again,” CNN reported.
However, before passing the bill, the Senate must go through vote-a-rama, a session where any senator can offer an amendment, with any successful one altering the bill and forcing it back to the House, according to The Hill.
A major wild card is what the Senate does with the federal minimum wage increase after the House left it in place, even though the parliamentarian ruled that language boosting it to $15 per hour doesn’t comply with arcane budget rules.
Senate Democrats are trying to insert acceptable language into the bill that would effectively encourage large corporations to carry out a $15 per hour minimum wage, an idea supported by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders.
Other bipartisan negotiations about making changes to the bill are taking place, with Republican Sen. Susan Collins saying, for example, that she was was talking with Democrats about raising the income threshold for Americans to receive stimulus payments.