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House will have to vote on budget second time as GOP notches wins

The House will have to approve a budget resolution that paves the way for Democrats to pass a coronavirus relief bill without GOP support for a second time this week. 
 
The House initially passed its budget resolution on Wednesday, but the Senate amended the resolution shortly after starting what’s expected to be an hours-long process known as vote-a-rama.
 
The Senate has been voting consecutively for roughly five hours on amendments to the budget resolution. 
 
The Senate started changing the budget immediately when an amendment from Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) related to the restaurant industry successfully got attached. 
 
Then Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) got language added that supports blocking stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants after Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan (N.H.), John Hickenlooper (Colo.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Sinema, Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) voted in favor of it. 
 
There was disagreement on the floor over whether the amendment blocking stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants also applies to their children who are U.S. citizens.
 
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued that it would apply to children who are legal citizens if their parents are undocumented — something Young contested. 
 
The amendments are nonbinding and the budget resolution doesn’t get signed into law. But both chambers need to pass the same text, and the amendments effectively get senators on the record on proposals they could struggle to get a vote on otherwise. 
 
Young’s amendment could also cause a headache for House leadership; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told reporters that the language, even though it’s not binding, could “absolutely” slow down the budget resolution’s passage on the House side. 
 
The budget resolution is the first step toward passing a coronavirus bill that can bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster meaning Democrats could pass it without GOP support. Democrats want to pass the subsequent coronavirus bill by mid-March, when federal unemployment benefits will expire. 
 
The House could pass the budget again as soon as Friday, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) told reporters earlier this week. 
 
It wasn’t just Republicans who successfully changed the bill. 
 
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) got the support of 99 senators for a nonbinding amendment that calls for stimulus checks to be more targeted so that high-income households do not get the assistance.
 
“Instead of sending stimulus checks to families who earn $300,000 a year, we should be targeting this relief to families and individuals who need it most,” Manchin said in a statement after the vote.
 
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also got an amendment attached related to a public awareness campaign for vaccine distributions.
 
“The most important thing we can do right now is to get the vaccines distributed. And one of the problems we’ve got is that about 40 percent of Americans are still saying they’re uncomfortable getting a vaccine,” Portman said ahead of the vote.
Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ben Cardin Budget budget resolution Debbie Stabenow Dick Durbin Gary Peters House Joe Manchin John Hickenlooper John Yarmuth Jon Tester Maggie Hassan Mark Kelly Rob Portman Roger Wicker stimulus checks Susan Collins third stimulus check Todd Young
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