Kamala Harris Casts Tie-Breaking Vote To Launch Debate Over $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Bill

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion




Kamala Harris came to the rescue of Senate Democrats late on Thursday afternoon by breaking a 50-50 tie over whether to advance Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus legislation.

Harris, as the vice president, cast the 51st vote with the Democrats to formally kick off debate on the Biden administration’s legislation to address the ongoing pandemic.

Senate Republicans have overwhelmingly rejected Biden’s legislation as a liberal wish list that is too expensive.

This bill is on thin ice given Democrats can’t afford a single defection in their own ranks.

If one Democrat votes against the bill, it will not pass because all 50 Republicans are united against it.

As she departed the Capitol after her tie-breaking vote, Harris was asked if she would be back.

“Who knows?” Harris replied.

House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats will stay as long as it takes to pass the measure.

“No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill – this week,” Schumer said Thursday. “The American people deserve nothing less.”

In the early morning hours last Saturday, as most of America was asleep, the Democrat-led House passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that has a lot more in it than relief.

The bill does include $1,400 stimulus checks for adults who made up to $75,000 annually, with smaller payments to those who earned more, and no payment to anyone who made more than $100,000.

It also gives an additional $1,400 for each dependent child.

Republicans had rallied to have what they believed were the non-essential parts of the bill removed, like the $140 million subway project in Pelosi’s city of San Francisco.

“Our proposal would shift the first $100 million and now the extra $40 million that was added overnight that was allocated to Nancy Pelosi’s subway to grants that would be used for mental health for children,” House Minority Leader and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy said.

“Let’s provide those resources to the families so they can get the help for the anxiety, the depression, for children who are suicidal. That’s COVID. That’s dealing with relief. That’s what the American public wants to see,” the top House Republican said.

But the most glaring part of the bill is the $15 minimum wage hike that the Senate Parliamentarian has said cannot be included in the Senate bill, which means it has to be revised and the House needs to authorize it again.

Minority Leader McCarthy argued that much of the bill was unnecessary, stating that an estimated $40 billion goes to California’s government even after the state said it had a $10 billion budget surplus.

“95 percent of the funding in this bill isn’t even scheduled to be spent for another year, creating more uncertainty for families,” he said.

“And in fact, less than 9 percent of the bill will be used to fund public health,” he said.

The Democrats in power don’t care. They are doing everything they can to keep that power.

Nowhere in their minds are they doing the will of the people by passing a bill so partisan that not a single Republican will likely vote in favor of it.

It will be interesting to see how everyone votes.

Whether the bill passes or not, it will provide a lot of talking points next year during the midterm elections, where Republicans are in a strong position to win back both the House and Senate.