GOP Senator to Push for 10 Hour Reading of $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
March 3, 2021New Yorkshare

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he will push for Senate clerks to read out the entire 600-page $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on the Senate floor, a move that he expects would probably delay the vote on the bill by 10 hours.

“I’m going to make the Senate clerk read the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion bill. All several hundred pages of it,” Johnson announced on Twitter on Wednesday. “Then, I’m going to offer amendments. Many amendments. We need to highlight the abuse.”

“This is not a COVID relief bill. It’s a boondoggle for Democrats,” he said of the bill that passed the House with no Republican support and two Democrats voting against it.

In an interview with Milwaukee radio station News/Talk 1130 on Wednesday, Johnson said, “The first way I’m going to resist [the bill] is I’m going to go down and object to the waiving of the reading of the bill,” adding that he will “make them read their 600 or 700-page bill, so then every member of the Senate would have time to read it as well, before we start the debate on it.”

He said he has many amendments to offer and he hopes Republicans can “highlight that this is not COVID relief.”

“This is a Democrat wish list setting things up for a more socialist society and it needs to be resisted. I’m going to lead the effort to resist starting today. … I’m going to make them read that thing, probably take about 10 hours.”

To waive a read-out of a proposed legislation on the Senate floor requires unanimous consent from all 100 senators in the chamber. Readings for bills are often waived to save time.

If what Johnson proposes goes ahead, the delay would come on top of 20 hours already set aside to debate the bill.

The Senate is not taking up the bill until Thursday, reported The Hill, citing an unnamed Senate Democratic aide, who said the chamber is awaiting guidance from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on whether it complies with reconciliation rules that would enable it to move forward by simple majority votes and bypass the 60-vote filibuster.

After a potential read-out of the bill, and the debate hours are used up, or there is an agreement for the process to be expedited, the Senate will then start a vote-a-rama—a marathon voting session where any lawmaker can bring amendments to the floor for a vote.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that some Republican senators want to keep adding amendments indefinitely.

“I’m hoping for infinity. There are people talking about trying to set up a schedule and having it go on and on,” he said of the vote-a-rama, reported Politico.

Republicans have said that much of the relief package was not necessary because it includes measures not related to COVID-19, including the minimum wage hike, as well as sending more than $100 million on a subway in California. Some Republicans have called the Democrat-backed package “Pelosi’s payoff bill.”

“We ran the numbers—the amount of money that actually goes to defeating the virus is less than nine percent. Less than nine percent!” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said prior to a House vote on the legislation last week.

Johnson told News/Talk 1130 that he doesn’t want to “make it hurt.”

“What I want to highlight is how gross this is and how unnecessary it is, how we are mortgaging our kids’ future, and we’re not even barely thinking about it, much less talking about it,” he said. “I’m going to make sure that at least in the Senate we talk about it.”

Democrats are seeking for the bill to be signed before March 14, when enhanced unemployment benefits and other aid are due to expire.

From The Epoch Times

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