March 4, 2021
Senate COVID bill includes changes from House version
The Senate March 4 voted 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting in the affirmative in the tied Senate, to proceed to consideration of the budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 1319) reflecting President Biden's $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan" COVID-19 relief package. Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered a substitute amendment with an expansion of 162(m) compensation deduction limits and changes to health and government funding provisions.
Changes in the substitute bill include:
The bill continues to include tax provisions like extension of the ERTC through December 31, 2021 and, after June 30, 2021, structuring it as a refundable payroll tax credit against the hospital insurance tax; and repeal of the IRC Section 864(f) worldwide interest expense allocation election.
There are up to 20 hours of debate during which amendments will be considered, then a "vote-a-rama" on amendments offered after debate time ends, which could begin sometime on Friday. Consideration could take longer than previously anticipated because Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) plans to use procedural privileges like requiring the text of amendments to be read out loud to extend the process and express his opposition to the bill.
After Senator Schumer offered the substitute amendment, Senator Johnson objected to waiving the reading of the amendment, which, if it continues, could take hours, preventing debate from commencing until then.
Text of the substitute amendment and a summary are attached below.
American Rescue Plan Act – Summary
American Rescue Plan Act – Substitute Amendment