Senate clears way for OK of Biden’s COVID-19 relief package

The Senate early Friday passed a budget resolution, clearing a path for reconciliation that will allow Democrats to move ahead with or without GOP support for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Vote was 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the deciding vote.

The vote on the resolution follows an all-night session or “vote-a-rama,” a chaotic process where senators considered dozens of amendments.

The bill passed just before 5:30 a.m.

The resolution is a procedural step that sets things up for a process known as “budget reconciliation,” where Democrats can pass the relief bill on a party-line vote.

The House passed its own budget bill on Wednesday.

Now the House has to act on the Senate measure. That could happen as early as Friday.

The bill would provide stimulus payments of up to $1,400.

Under the Senate measure, upper-income taxpayers would not get the stimulus payment, but the bill did not define who is considered an upper-income taxpayer.

The amendment related to upper-income earners passed on a 99-1 vote, but would not be binding and could be changed in the final COVID relief bill.

WTOP’s Colleen Kelleher contributed to this story.

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