The Senate is bracing for a marathon effort and a late night of voting on amendments before lawmakers take a final vote on President Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill — it's just not yet clear exactly when that will take place.
Here's what you need to know about the Senate bill:
- Where thing stand and what (may) happen next: A procedural move to advance the bill now seems on track for a vote Thursday, a Senate Democratic aide told CNN, with Democratic leaders still waiting Wednesday evening for the official cost estimate before bringing the newly revised bill to the floor. At some point, the Senate is expected to move into a vote-a-rama, a tradition in the chamber that typically involves a large number of votes on amendments that can stretch for hours and last until late in the night. It is frequently used by lawmakers to force tough votes that put members of the opposing party on the record on controversial issues.
- What both sides are saying: Democrats say the legislation is urgently needed to address the continued devastation of the pandemic. Republicans, on the other hand, have denounced the bill as a partisan measure jam-packed with liberal priorities and are signaling they won't let it advance to a final vote without putting up a fight and dragging out the process. In addition to forcing a full reading of the bill, which could take 10 hours, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has indicated he could take steps to stretch out the timeline for considering the legislation and any amendments offered to it.
- Tweaks to the bill: In one of the latest developments related to the legislation, Biden agreed to a compromise with moderate Democrats to narrow the income eligibility for the next round of $1,400 stimulus checks included in the Senate bill, a Democratic source told CNN on Wednesday. The change has frustrated progressives, however.
- A note on the process: Once the Senate passes its version of the bill, the process is still not over. The bill would need to be approved once again by the House before heading to the President's desk for his signature.
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