Vice President Kamala Harris cast her first tie-breaking vote early Friday morning, providing Senate Democrats a simple majority to go forward with a coronavirus stimulus package despite a lack of Republican support.
Harris cast her first tie-breaking vote around 5:30 a.m. for the budget resolution. The resolution will enable Democrats to use budget reconciliation and bypass the Senate filibuster to push through a $1.9 trillion relief deal, according to ABC 13.
And with Vice President @KamalaHarris casting the crucial tie-breaking vote, at 5:30am after 14 hours of debate, the Senate has passed a $1.9 trillion budget for COVID relief. Georgia voters made this possible.
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) February 5, 2021
“The yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative. And the concurrent resolution as amended is adopted,” Harris said, receiving a round of applause from Democrats in the chamber. (RELATED: ‘This Is Fake’: Chip Roy Slams COVID-19 Relief Process)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the resolution the “first big step to putting our country back on the road to recovery.”
“I am so thankful that our caucus stayed together in unity,” Schumer said. “We had no choice given the problems facing America and the desire to move forward.”
“We cannot underscore enough how much help America needs during this awful crisis and we cannot miss the point that we have a long way to go.”
The budget will now return to the House where it will be approved again since the Senate made changes on it, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The long session included votes on dozens of Democrats’ top priorities like minimum wage, but an amendment from Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst that opposed raising the minimum wage during the pandemic was adopted, according to the report.
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to keep pushing for an increase in the minimum wage, the AP reported.
“We need to end the crisis of starvation wages,” he said, according to the report.
There were amendments with bipartisan support, however, that did pass. An amendment to boost the restaurant industry and provide financial relief that was proposed by Republican Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker and Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was approved 90-10.
Another amendment meant to prevent the undefined “upper income citizens” from receiving stimulus checks that was spearheaded by Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins passed 99-1.