Senate braces for chaotic session as Democrats pursue coronavirus bill

The Senate on Thursday began a chaotic, potentially all-night session as Democrats raced to lay the groundwork for passing coronavirus relief legislation.

The Senate is expected to pass a budget resolution by the end of the week that will allow Democrats to bypass the 60-vote filibuster, and the need for Republican support, on their coronavirus package proposal.

But first, the Senate will need to undergo a marathon session known as a vote-a-rama — the first in more than three years. And unlike the normally tightly-controlled Senate, lawmakers will be able to force a vote on anything and stir up political fodder.

Bipartisan checks: A bipartisan group of senators offered an amendment to the budget resolution part of the Senate’s hours-long vote-a-rama on Thursday, signaling that they want the next round of coronavirus relief checks to Americans to be more targeted.

It passed 99-1.

Though it’s nonbinding, the fact that it had such strong support signals that the structure of the checks is an area of likely negotiation as Democrats craft the coronavirus relief package.

The measure doesn’t specify how the next round of checks will be better targeted.

But many of the same senators are in the GOP group of 10 that met with Biden on Monday night to discuss their $618 billion coronavirus proposal. They sent Biden a letter on Thursday where they highlighted concerns about the phase-out structure of the checks.