Stimulus on Track for Weekend Vote, Republicans Vow to Slow Down Process

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 6, 2014: Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Christopher Halloran /

The Senate should be on track to start the debate on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan today, and a vote is expected this weekend.

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Yesterday, Biden agreed to tighten the threshold of Americans who are eligible to receive the $1,400 stimulus checks. The direct payment of $1,400 per person in Biden’s plan would supplement the $600 Congress approved as part of the second stimulus.

The move angered many Democrats, including Rep. Ro Khanna, who said in a tweet: “I’m tired of compromising on basic progressive values. We must do everything in our power to give Americans a raise.”

The phaseout, which starts at $75,000 for single filers, now would be capped at $80,000. The phaseout starting at $150,000 for joint filers now would be capped at $160,000. For heads of household, the phaseout starts at $112,500 and would now be capped at $120,000. The $400 weekly unemployment insurance benefit is expected to remain in the bill.

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Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing yesterday that President Biden was “comfortable with where the negotiations stand.”

“Of course, there are going to be ongoing discussions. We don’t have a final bill, as you know. There will be ongoing discussions. He is comfortable and knows there will be tweaks at the margin. What his firm viewpoint is, is that it needs to meet the scope of the challenge, it needs to be the size he’s proposed, it needs to have the core components in order to have the impact on the American people,” Psaki said.

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While the vote is expected this weekend, Republicans vowing to slow down the process include Sen. Ron Johnson, who announced Wednesday that he plans to force a reading of the full 600-page bill once it is formally proposed by Democrats, according to a statement. The reading could add 10 hours to the 20 hours allotted for debate, according to Forbes.

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“These are astonishing sums that we’re talking about and the majority party here wants to jam this through, through a reconciliation process, no consultation with our side. Just blow it through here, twenty hours of debate, a voterama, pass $1.9 trillion in spending, and go home,” Johnson said. “Having no consideration whatsoever of that fact that we are mortgaging our children’s future. At some point and time there will be a day of reckoning, a debt crisis, and it won’t be pretty.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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