Slash those jobless benefits

Relief bill passed.

Joe Biden hailed “one more giant step forward on delivering on that promise that help is on the way”, after Democrats took a critical step towards a first major legislative victory since assuming control of Congress and the White House, with a party-line vote in the Senate to approve a $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill.

One senator was able to see to it that unemployed people would be kept poorer.

The marathon “vote-a-rama” session that preceded the final Senate vote featured the longest recorded vote in Senate history, just shy of 12 hours, on Friday, as Democrats scrambled to strike a deal with Manchin, a moderate who mounted a last-minute push to scale back unemployment benefits.

Bowing to Manchin, the resulting compromise will keep benefits at $300 a week instead of $400, as proposed by Biden and approved by the House. However, the benefits will be extended until October rather than August, and Democrats added a provision to provide up to $10,200 in tax relief for unemployed Americans.

Let them eat stones.

Early on Friday, the Senate rejected a proposal by the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to include a $15-an-hour minimum wage increase, a top liberal priority and a key plank of Biden’s economic agenda.

Despite widespread public support for raising the federal minimum wage, Democrats remain divided over the measure. On Friday, eight joined all Republicans in blocking the amendment, which would have required 60 votes to pass.

If people can’t live on $7.50 an hour well they should have thought of that before they got born.

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