Stimulus Bill’s Final Push In Senate To Kick Off
Democratic lawmakers aim to pass the massive legislative package before federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14.
Senate Set To Take Up $1.9T Covid Aid Bill As Soon As Wednesday
The Senate will move forward as soon as Wednesday on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer predicting Monday that the chamber would face "some late nights" ahead this week. Democrats are racing to pass the Covid aid package into law before March 14, when boosted federal unemployment benefits expire. Given the evenly divided Senate, they are using a complex tool known as budget reconciliation process to pass the bill without the need to win GOP votes. (Levine, 3/1)
Biden To Huddle With Senate Democrats On Covid Relief Ahead Of Push For Passage
President Joe Biden is expected to huddle with Senate Democrats on Tuesday as the chamber gears up to pass the White House's top legislative priority: a major pandemic relief plan. Biden is slated to join Senate Democrats virtually during their caucus lunch Tuesday afternoon, a meeting that comes as Democrats face pressure to stick together to pass the sweeping rescue package. Biden also held a virtual meeting with a group of Senate Democrats on Monday. (Foran, 3/2)
Pension Funding, COBRA Coverage Survive Aid Bill's 'Byrd Bath'
Senate Democrats won two procedural battles Monday on a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package they hope to pass by week’s end. The chamber’s parliamentarian said funding to shore up failing union pension plans and to subsidize health insurance for jobless workers do not violate the "Byrd rule," which limits what can be considered under budget reconciliation procedures, according to Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore. (Lerman and McPherson, 3/1)
GOP Governors Criticize Joe Biden's COVID-19 Relief Bill As 'Biased'
Twenty-one Republican governors and one Democrat are taking aim at a key component of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill, arguing a proposed allocation of funds "punishes" states that did not fully lock down businesses amid the pandemic. The governors, led by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, issued a statement over the weekend critical of what they called a "biased" formula used to decide how much money in direct aid each states receives. One Democrat, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, also supported the statement. (Garrison, 3/1)
In other news from Capitol Hill —
Elizabeth Warren Says Wealth Tax Could Help Pay for Infrastructure, Health
Senator Elizabeth Warren said her proposed wealth tax on households worth more than $50 million could help pay for investments in infrastructure, childcare and health reforms as part of President Joe Biden’s plan to “Build Back Better” after the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately hit low-income families. “We need to turn to infrastructure, childcare, pre-K, college. We need to turn to the things that create investment and opportunity going forward and to do that, a wealth tax is the best way to pay for it,” Warren said. (Wasson, 3/1)
Coronavirus House Subcommittee To Investigate One Medical's Vaccine Practices
The consequences are deepening for concierge health care provider One Medical following an NPR investigation that found the company administered COVID-19 vaccinations to those with connections to leadership, as well as ineligible patients. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is launching its own investigation into the San Francisco-based company's practices, NPR has learned. The probe has plunged the publicly traded company, whose business model depends on patients paying a $199 annual fee for VIP health care services, into damage control mode. (Mak, 3/2)