Republican Sen. Ron Johnson will force the Senate to read the more than 600-page coronavirus relief bill, delaying a vote on the stimulus package and President Biden’s first address to Congress.
Johnson of Wisconsin said he will object to waiving the reading of the president’s $1.9 trillion bill, a maneuver that will require Senate clerks to read the legislation out loud – a process that could take about 10 hours.
That would delay debate, which the Senate had expected to begin as soon as Thursday and could draw out the procedure until this weekend.
“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,” Johnson said on Twitter. ”Yes, it could take 10 hours but the American people deserve to know what’s in it.”
The House passed the stimulus bill early Saturday morning by a 219 to 212 vote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Biden, who has been criticized for not holding a solo press conference since entering the White House 43 days ago, will not address a joint-session of Congress until the package is approved.
“I would say, broadly speaking, what we’ve confirmed and talked about in the past is that when it became clear – which it probably should’ve been from the beginning – but that the American Rescue Plan would not – would take until hopefully about mid-March to get passed and signed into law, we made a decision internally that we weren’t going to have the president propose his forward-looking agenda beyond that,” Psaki said.
”It meant parts of his Build Back Better agenda are still being determined, policy discussions still going on internally until after that bill is signed, after those checks are going out to Americans, after that vaccine money is going out – after the money is going out to schools,” she added.
The president has tried to sweeten the pot to get senators to approve the trillion-dollar bill by limiting eligibility for the $1,400 payments, cutting off those making more than $80,000 a year.
Individuals making up to $75,000 annually would still receive the full amount but the payments would shrink for those earning between $75,000 and $80,000.
For joint filers, the threshold begins at $150,000 and ends at $160,000.
A “head of household” category for parents begins a phase-out at $112,500 and ends at $120,000.