Biden signed off on moderate Democrats’ demand to phase out the checks more quickly, the aide said. The bill’s $1,400 payments will now phase out completely at $80,000 per year for individuals and $160,000 for joint filers; the phase-outs will start at $75,000 and $150,000 respectively. But the bill will retain $400 in extra weekly unemployment payments through August rather than cut them to $300, as suggested by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
That breakthrough has Democrats ready to press forward on Biden’s bill as soon as possible. Biden urged the party to “swallow” provisions they don’t like during a virtual lunch meeting on Tuesday, according to one Senate Democrat. Moderate senators could offer their $300 weekly proposal as an amendment later this week, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he plans to force a vote on a $15 hourly minimum wage.
Sanders will seek approval on a plan that would penalize large corporations for not paying their employees the $15 minimum wage and give a tax incentive to small businesses that pay it. Although the proposal has attracted some Republican support its success isn’t guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Republicans are plotting to see just how painful they can make this vote for Democrats.
Senate Republicans are debating how painful to make things for Democrats, possibly by dragging out the marathon of unlimited amendments overnight. That would likely happen late on Thursday and run into early Friday morning.
“I’m hoping for infinity. There are people talking about trying to set up a schedule and having it go on and on,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Paul said some in his party want to push the debate well past Thursday and keep adding amendments into Friday, while he has suggested to Schumer to spread the pain over two days.
The bill seems destined to pass some time during the second week of the month.