Senate approves budget bill to pass Biden economic relief plan

Passage of the budget bill by a 51-to-50 vote came just after 5:30 a.m. Friday, after an all-night Senate session during which senators plowed through dozens of amendments in a chaotic process known as a “vote-a-rama.” Democrats cheered the progress on measures to address the pandemic, while Republicans complained of partisanship and excessive spending.

The House, which approved its own budget bill on Wednesday, must now act on the Senate’s version, which it is expected to do within a day.

With the budget resolution complete, Congress can turn in earnest to writing Biden’s expansive pandemic relief proposal into law — and push it through the Senate without Republican votes if necessary under the special rules unlocked by the budget legislation. That process will take weeks, with Democrats eyeing mid-March as the deadline for final passage of the relief legislation because that is when enhanced unemployment benefits will expire if Congress doesn’t act first.