The Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday after nearly 25.5 hours of debate and amendments – a “vote-a-rama.”
The final vote was 50-49, with Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan absent due to a family emergency.
Had Sullivan been in the chamber, Vice President Kamala Harris would’ve likely broken the tie.
Alabama’s two U.S. Senators, Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville, voted no on the bill.
Shelby called the bill a “liberal wish list of pet projects.”
“I voted against this bill today because it could further wreck the economy and ignite inflation. This legislation includes a host of non-COVID-related left-wing policies. Not only does it cost the American taxpayers $1.9 trillion, but only nine percent of the funding in the bill goes toward the immediate fight against COVID and one percent toward vaccines. The bill does nothing to get kids back in classrooms and, instead, includes a massive cash bailout for some mismanaged states and local governments. Democrats are forcing a liberal wish list of pet projects through Congress that’s masked as a pandemic rescue package. I am disappointed that we were blocked at every turn from engaging and passing real COVID relief in a bipartisan, targeted manner, just like the Senate did five times last year.”U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby
Tuberville said the bill should be called ‘liberal relief,’ calling it “a broken promise to the American people.”
“Democrats refused to negotiate with Republicans on this bill from the start because they knew this reconciliation process was their best chance to pass President Biden’s progressive wish list. To put it into perspective, until today, the most partisan vote on the past five COVID relief bills was 92-6. This bill is a broken promise to the American people – one that hides under the name of ‘COVID relief’ when it should actually be called ‘liberal relief.’ Instead of targeting funds to the people, communities, and businesses who actually need it, this bill sends billions to bail out poorly managed states and puts less than 1% of funding toward vaccines. $1 trillion from past relief bills has not yet been used, and the small percentage of the funds in this bill that will actually go to people who really need it will take years to get there. This legislation is a reckless use of taxpayer dollars when what Americans and our economy really needs now is a plan to start reopening.”U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville
Despite Tuberville’s claim, the federal government’s own COVID-19 spending tracker, which is reporting spending through the end of January, shows $477.9 billion has yet to be spent.
Due to amendments made in the Senate, the bill will be sent back to the House of Representatives before it heads to President Biden’s desk.
Democrats are hoping the President can sign the bill before current job benefits expire on March 14.