Senator Joe Manchin has just agreed to a deal with Democrats to pass the COVID relief bill that has very little relief it in. And thanks to Senator Manchin, the $400/week unemployment insurance is now $300:
CNN – A deal has been reached in the Senate to pave the way forward on President Joe Biden’s Covid relief bill after activity in the chamber ground to a halt for hours on Friday amid a holdup over unemployment benefits.
A Democratic aide told CNN that Senate Democrats plan to offer an amendment to extend the enhanced unemployment insurance program through September 6 at a rate of $300 per week as part of an agreement that West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has accepted.
Manchin had earlier stalled passage of the bill over an impasse on unemployment benefits, with Republicans urging him to sign on to an amendment they had crafted.
The aide said that the agreement will make the first $10,200 in benefits nontaxable in a provision that applies to households making less than $150,000.
Manchin released a statement on the deal Friday evening, saying, “We have reached a compromise that enables the economy to rebound quickly while also protecting those receiving unemployment benefits from being hit with unexpected tax bills next year. Those making less than $150,000 and receiving unemployment will be eligible for a $10,200 tax break. Unemployment benefits will be extended through the end of August.”
Dems now have the votes to pass it once they get through the long amendment process that may go late into tomorrow night.
In somewhat related news, Democrats are annoyed with Kyrsten Sinema who voted no on the $15 minimum wage that Bernie tried to get into the COVID bill. They are angry at how she voted ‘no’:
Did Sinema really have vote against a $15 minimum wage for 24 million people like this? pic.twitter.com/Jv0UXLKLHI
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) March 5, 2021
You might not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 5, 2021
This is actually pretty funny, but Democrats weren’t laughing:
HUFFPO – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) faced criticism Friday afternoon for the way in which she chose to vote against a provision to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour ― with an exaggerated thumbs-down hand gesture.
Eight Democratic senators voted with Republicans against the motion to include a minimum wage hike in the latest round of coronavirus relief, an effort led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Although hand gestures are commonplace on the Senate floor, particularly in the coronavirus era, Sinema’s casual body language was disappointing to some who saw the gesture as belittling the fight to end poverty wages.
Even funnier is how Sinema deflected criticism over the way she voted:
Sinema’s office responded to a question about the gesture by making the absurd claim that the inquiry is sexist. “Commentary about a female senator’s body language, clothing, or physical demeanor does not belong in a serious media outlet,” Hannah Hurley, a spokesperson for Sinema, told HuffPost.