Senate passes bloated COVID relief bill

After what’s being described as a 26-hour “marathon” session, the Senate managed to drag the massive, nearly two trillion dollar COVID relief bill across the finish line. That fact that huge parts of it had little or nothing to do with pandemic relief didn’t appear to bother the Democrats in the upper chamber one bit. Just as with other recent “unity” maneuvers the Democrats have pulled off, this huge pile of magical money was set on fire without so much as a single Republican voting in favor of it. Chuck Schumer was spared the embarrassment of having to summon Kamala Harris to the floor to break a tie since Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan had been forced to fly home the day before due to a family emergency. So now the bill heads back to the house where they will try to run it through again. The Democrats lost a couple of their wish list items, such as the $15 minimum wage bump, but they still got most of what the progressive wing of the party had asked for. (NY Post)

The Senate on Saturday passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on a party-line vote, ending a marathon session lasting nearly 26 hours.

The measure, which aims to fulfill several of Biden’s key campaign promises at a stroke, passed 50-49 in the evenly divided chamber due to the absence of one Republican, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, who flew home Friday after the death of his father-in-law.

Sullivan’s departure meant there was no need for Vice President Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaker vote to gain the Democratic victory.

“This Senate has never spent $2 trillion dollars in a more haphazard way,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said afterwards.

We’ve already beaten this bill to death here multiple times, so rather than once again talking about what’s in it, I just wanted to take a look at some of the things that aren’t in it. Republicans brought up a number of amendments before the final vote, all of which were shot down by the Democrats. Here are a couple of the things they rejected.

Ted Cruz offered an amendment that would have barred stimulus money from going to illegal aliens. The Democrats shot that down because of course they did. And with tens of thousands of illegal aliens heading to our southern border thanks to the invitation they received from Open Borders Joe, they’ll certainly be needing the money for bus fare. Oh, wait… that’s right. They get free bus fare now too.

An amendment from Ted Cruz would have limited the money for schools that remain closed to in-person instruction. That one was equally unacceptable to every Democrat. Considering that the teacher’s unions that are keeping the schools closed all finance the campaigns of the Democrats and indoctrinate their students into liberal orthodoxy, that one was probably a no-brainer. They did however pass an amendment from Democrat Maggie Hassan that will require any schools receiving relief funds from this bill to “publish a plan to reopen their school safely.” No time limit for reopening was specified, of course.

One amendment would have blocked aid to schools that allow transgender students born male to participate in female sports. Another would have blocked aid to sanctuary cities. One by one, fifty Democrats stood up and defeated each one of them. So while no improvements to the bill were made, at least all of the moderate Democrats were forced to go on record regarding these issues.

In any event, the deal is done for now. As I said above, there is still more work to be done in the House. But the magical money is once again on its way to being set ablaze, so everyone can stay warm during these chilly days on Capitol Hill.