The Corona aid package is a central push by the new government under Joe Biden. But the majorities are extremely tight. The Democrats first had to convince one of their own ranks.
The US Senate continued to wrestle over the corona aid package from the new President Joe Biden on Saturday night. Biden’s Democrats first had to convince Senator Joe Manchin from their own ranks that he supported the plan and thus did not jeopardize the wafer-thin majority in the second chamber of parliament. It is the first test for the US president in a major political project.
“Make no mistake – we will bring the work to a successful conclusion,” said Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer before the further stages of the debate, which could drag on for many hours.
Compromise only after nine hours of negotiation
Negotiations in the Senate, in which the Democrats and Republicans of ex-President Donald Trump were tied with the exception of Vice President Kamala Harris, did not advance for nine hours before an agreement was reached with Manchin. Manchin agreed to a compromise, according to which support for the unemployed is reduced from the equivalent of 335 to 250 euros, but the duration will be extended until September 6th. The compromise was finally accepted by 50 votes to 49.
US Senator Joe Manchin: He initially tipped the scales, first had to be convinced by his own party to agree to the Corona package. (Source: Zuma / Greg Nash / imago images)
“This agreement allows us to move forward with the much-needed bailout package,” said President Spokeswoman Jen Psaki. However, it was expected that further amendments would be tabled. A final vote on the rescue plan could then take place over the course of the weekend.
“We can’t take a step forward and two steps back,” said Biden. The rescue plan is “absolutely crucial” for this. Compared to the previous year’s data, there are still 9.5 million fewer jobs in the USA.
Raising the minimum wage to $ 15 is off the table again
Biden’s advisors assume that a full recovery will not occur for two years. The increase in the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour originally requested by Biden was dropped during the legislative process.
The Senate debate entered a new phase over the weekend known as “vote-a-rama”. It gives all senators the opportunity to put forward amendments at short notice, which then have to be voted on individually. The Democrats have to stick together in every single vote; in the event of a stalemate, Harris’ vote would make the difference. The Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his party’s opposition to the rescue package, which consists of a “parade of left-wing projects”.
The package includes checks for $ 1,400 for millions of citizens. In addition, $ 160 billion is earmarked for corona vaccinations, tests and health workers, $ 130 billion for the safe reopening of schools, and $ 350 billion in aid for cities and states, among other things.