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Schumer vows Senate will pass coronavirus relief this week

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Biden to host Sinema for meeting on infrastructure proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) pledged on Thursday that Democrats would pass a massive coronavirus relief bill this week, even as Republicans plot how to slow down the bill.

“The Senate is going to move forward with the bill. No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.

Democrats had hoped to start the clock on the coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, but punted as they awaited guidance from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the cost of the bill and if it complies with reconciliation, the process the party is using to avoid a 60-vote filibuster in the Senate.

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Democrats are now hoping to have that vote on Thursday afternoon, though it hasn’t been locked in yet.

Even after the initial vote, Democrats could face up to another 30 hours before they could even start a vote-a-rama, a marathon session that is expected to last several additional hours.

Republicans are vowing to file a mountain of potential amendments to the bill. During a vote-a-rama, any senator who wants to force an amendment vote can do so, giving Democrats little control over how long it lasts.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (R-Wis.), a staunch Trump ally, is vowing to force Senate floor staff to read the coronavirus bill, a process that senators say could last anywhere from five to 10 hours.

Schumer on Thursday mocked the effort by Johnson, saying that Democrats would be “delighted” to let Americans hear the details of the $1.9 trillion plan.

“We all know this will merely delay the inevitable. It will accomplish little more than a few sore throats for the Senate clerks who work very hard,” he said.

“The senator from Wisconsin wants to give the American people another opportunity to hear what’s in the American Rescue plan. We Democrats want America to hear what’s in the plan,” he added.