As President Biden and his Congressional allies push forward their massive $1.9 trillion COVID package, Republicans in both the House and Senate are trying even harder to stop it. With the Senate’s current split, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved forward a legislative procedure called “budget reconciliation” in order to pass their wish list with only 51 votes in the Senate. Initially, a shell budget is passed triggering a risky amendment process in the Senate known as “vote-a-rama.” This intense action played out overnight for 15 hours last week with both sides offering amendment after amendment. To our surprise, Republicans were dealt some wins.
https://eagleforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/COVID-Money-600b-350x209.jpg 350w" data-ll-status="loaded" style="border: 1px solid rgb(192, 192, 192); box-sizing: border-box; height: auto; margin: 4px 0px 0.75em 1.25em; max-width: 100%; padding: 0px; float: right; background-color: transparent; display: inline; text-align: center; border-radius: 10px;">One of the harmful provisions in Biden’s plan is raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour. The Congressional Budget Office predicted that this would result in a decrease of 1.4 million jobs. This would be particularly devastating in light of rigid COVID restrictions that have forced people into unemployment. Fortunately, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced an amendment to prohibit any increase of the federal minimum wage during the pandemic which passed by voice vote.
Other notable amendments that passed included:
- Sen. Todd Young’s (R-IN) amendment to ban economic impact payments from going to illegal immigrants.
- Sen. Marco Rubio’s amendment to prevent tax increases on small businesses during the pandemic.
- Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) amendment to expand health savings accounts.
- Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) amendment to continue funding the police.
- Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) amendment to maintain the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
- Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) amendment to create a website showing the expenditure of COVID funds.
Unfortunately, there were great amendments that failed such as language to prohibit funding for closed schools and funding for border security. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) offered an amendment to require life-saving medical care for babies who survive an abortion attempt, however, it was deemed not germane to the bill making it subjected to a 60-vote threshold causing it to fail. Other amendments solidified state bailout money and added problematic language from the sexist Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
After vote-a-rama concluded, the House went to work to mark up a final bill in various committees. In a blatant move of partisanship, Democrats promptly added the $15 minimum wage language back into the bill. This action came in addition to the egregious provisions already included like the expansion of Obamacare, $1,400 checks to all Americans, $400 bonus payments to those unemployed, and an increase to family planning services that would line the pockets of Planned Parenthood.
Democrats will look for ways to undermine the other Senate amendments mentioned above as well. They continue to waste the American peoples’ time by preaching “unity” while pretending to work across the aisle but ultimately silencing the minority by ignoring conservative policies. Even if they allow Republicans to retain a handful of wins, the bill will be packed with so much liberal pork that it would be impossible for conservatives to support it entirely.
Eagle Forum applauds Republicans who have held the line on policies that will help American families, businesses, and security. We will not see a final bill until later in February, but once that becomes public, we will give you an opportunity to contact your representatives about their vote.