Democrats Reach Deal On Unemployment Benefits; Vote-a-rama Begins

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening to extend unemployment insurance in President Biden‘s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating and halting other action for roughly nine hours.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) finally supported Democrat’s proposal for emergency jobless benefits after hesitating to support an earlier version.

Democrats will now offer an amendment extending the enhanced unemployment insurance of $300 per week through Sept. 6. The deal also provides tax relief to those who receive unemployment insurance from the program by making the first $10,200 received non-taxable for households with incomes under $150,000.

The earlier amendment that Manchin was opposed to cut the weekly jobless benefit from the $400 allotment in the House bill to $300, while allowing the benefit to continue through September rather than through August. That version also included the first $10,200 paid out through the unemployment program being untaxed without any income thresholds.

With this settled, the bill can now move to the vote-a-rama stage of the process, where Republicans intend to offer hundreds of amendments to make Democrats take some hard votes and draw out the process for as long as possible.

Delay tactics are the only maneuver Republicans have left if the Democrats can manage to stick together through the arduous process. With Vice President Kamala Harris available to break a 50-50 tie if necessary, the bill is likely to pass at some point this weekend.



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