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GOP Lawmaker Threatens To Force Clerks To Read Entire $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill Aloud

March 4, 2021

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is threatening to force Senate clerks to read every word in the nearly 600-page $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus relief package before a vote can take place.

Lawmakers can ask clerks to read entire bills before votes, but it’s rarely done with legislation that long.

“I’m going to make the Senate clerk read the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion bill. All several hundred pages of it,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Then I’m going to offer amendments. Many amendments. We need to highlight the abuse. This is not a COVID relief bill. It’s a boondoggle for Democrats.”

“Since more than 90% of this ‘COVID relief’ bill is not even related to COVID, I think we need a full reading of the bill. Yes, it could take 10 hours but the American people deserve to know what’s in it,” he also tweeted.

Republicans say the legislation includes billions of dollars in wasteful spending unrelated to the pandemic.

“The swamp is back,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said during debate on the House floor. “Almost every one of this bill’s 592 pages includes a liberal pipe dream that predates the pandemic.”

“We’re really going to continue to hammer on all the nonsense that’s non-COVID related that has been packed into this Democratic wish list,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). “I think you’re going to see a lot of amendments coming from our members, and they’re going to be good, solid amendments — trying to decrease some of the line-item funding that you see in non-COVID items as well as trying to make more sensible adjustments to the rest of the package.”

President Joe Biden supports the latest bill and on Wednesday rallied lawmakers during a virtual speech to House Democrats holding their annual issues conference.

“Staying unified as we complete this process to pass the American Rescue Plan won’t just make a difference in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to rebuild the economy, it will also show the American people we are capable of coming together for what matters most to them,” he said. “They have lost faith in government. This is a time to reestablish that faith.”

“It’s good policy and it’s good politics,” he said of the package.

The latest proposal by Senate Democrats would lower the income cap for COVID-19 stimulus checks and would leave out nearly 12 million Americans, according to a new analysis.

Under the latest proposal, individuals earning up to $75,000 per year would receive $1,400 checks, but the payments would decline sharply up to $80,000, where they would phase out completely.

About 200 million Americans would get the stimulus checks under the new Senate plan, which is 11.8 million fewer than a relief bill passed by the House last week, according to estimates from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. That bill sets a $100,000 income cap.

“The Senate bill would benefit 86 percent of adults and 85 percent of children, compared to 91 percent of adults and 90 percent of children under the House-passed bill. But among the bottom 60 percent of Americans, those who most need help, both versions of the proposal would benefit 100 percent of adults and children,” the Institute said.

“The cash payments in the Senate proposal would phase out for those with income exceeding $75,000 in the case of singles, $112,500 in the case of single parents, and $150,000 in the case of married couples–just as in the House-passed bill. However, the Senate Democrats propose to phase out the payments at a steeper rate. For example, the Senate version would phase the cash payments out entirely for singles with $80,000 of income, compared to $100,000 of income under the House-passed bill,” according to the analysis.

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