The Senate clerk was required to begin reading aloud all 628 pages of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID-19 relief bill on Thursday, a process that’s expected to take about 10 hours before the lawmakers can begin debate on the legislation. The decision came after Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin voted against dispensing of the procedural step before debate can begin. Johnson tweeted, “I just objected to skipping past the reading of the Democrats’ 628-page bill that was just introduced minutes ago. If they’re going to add nearly $2T to the national debt at least we should know what’s in the bill.”
The House passed the aid package last weekend, but two aspects have since been changed. The provision to raise the federal minimum wage requirement to $15 per hour will no longer be part of the bill, and the President has agreed to impose greater income restrictions for Americans to receive the $1,400 direct stimulus payment.
After the reading Thursday, senators will introduce a motion to begin 20 hours of debate. Late Wednesday, the House decided not to convene on Thursday due to warnings from law enforcement of a possible far-right plot by pro-Trump radicals to break into the Capitol again and target Democratic lawmakers. The Senate convened at noon despite warnings from U.S. Capitol police that there could be a threat.
Editorial credit: mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com