Senate Republicans’ vote-a-rama slows Biden COVID relief bill

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Republicans are again stalling a vote on President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion COVID relief deal, calling the bill wasteful.

But in the end, Democrats say they have the votes to get it passed.

Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson — who stalled a motion to proceed on Thursday by asking the Senate clerk to read the 600-page bill — said Friday that Republicans will introduce hundreds of amendments in an effort to stall a vote on the massive relief package.

Despite Republican objections, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats will pass the package because while it’s big, it’s necessary.

“It will help American families stay in their homes, care for their children (and) put food on the table,” the New York Democrat said.

The bill includes billions of dollars for schools and small businesses, extends soon-to-expire unemployment insurance and sends another round of stimulus checks to families.

Republicans have launched a full-court press against the bill and spent the day Friday introducing hundreds of amendments.

“We’re going to try and improve the bill,” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says the bill is wasteful.

“We still have tens of billions of dollars that were appropriated before Christmas for K-12 that’s not even out there yet,” he said.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley agreed.

“The American people deserve better than this,” he said.

Hawley slammed Democrats for scrapping plans to increase the minimum wage and limiting eligibility for direct checks.

“Democrats have spent the last week watering down the direct relief that goes to working people,” he said.

If Democrats stay united, they can pass the bill without any Republican support. Once passed in the Senate, the plan will head back to the House of Representatives.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday the Biden administration is still confident the bill is progressive enough to gain support from House Democrats. They’re hoping to have the bill signed by next week.

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