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Democrat-led Senate approves budget process for passage of $1.9T COVID-19 stimulus without GOP votes

Senate Republicans argue the Democrats' 'budget reconciliation' move on COVID-19 stimulus conflicts with Biden's message of unity

Published: February 2, 2021 6:01pm

Updated: February 2, 2021 7:09pm

The Democratic-led Senate voted on Tuesday in favor of starting the budget reconciliation process for President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal.

The vote on the budget resolution was 50-49 with Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voting with the Democrats in favor of the resolution. Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey was not present for the vote.

The use of budget reconciliation would allow Democrats to pass their coronavirus relief plan without relying on any votes from Republicans. 

Senate Republicans have criticized Senate Democrats for proceeding with reconciliation instead of seeking bipartisan input on additional COVID-19 stimulus funds. Large-scale coronavirus relief bills were passed last year with votes from Republicans and Democrats in the GOP-led Senate when former President Trump was in office.

GOP senators like John Barrasso of Wyoming said on Tuesday the reconciliation move conflicts with Biden's message of unity during his inaugural address. Senate Democrats are tying a $15 per hour federal minimum wage to the coronavirus stimulus bill.

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