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It was grueling, but worth it

Last night, the U.S. Senate voted all through the night to begin the work of getting desperately needed pandemic relief to the American people. We started around 2:30 p.m. and didn't finish until just after 5:30 a.m.

It was grueling, but worth it to get families additional $1400-per-person checks, in addition to the $600 passed in December, nutrition assistance for hungry families, expanded unemployment assistance, and a big investment in testing and vaccine distribution, among many, many other things.

It's called "vote-a-rama" and it's one of those hard-to-believe-it's-true traditions of the Senate. It's part of our convoluted budget process and allows any Senator to offer an unlimited number of amendments to instruct the budget writers. And yeah, you guessed it: We voted on dozens of proposals from Republican Senators trying to slow down the process and score political points along the way.

But here's the bottom line:

In the end, the Senate voted 51-50 — with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaking vote — to advance President Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. There are still a number of steps before this becomes law, but it's the critical beginning of the process.

We have to tackle the pandemic with everything we've got — and we have to give American families and small businesses the financial support they need to get to the other side.

Big problems need big solutions.

There's a lot of talk in D.C. about bipartisanship. This proposal is bipartisan — Democrats, Republicans, and independents all support it. And as far as I'm concerned, bipartisan votes in Congress are nice, but results are better. We have to take big, bold action.

That's what the American people expect and that's what we must deliver.


Posted on February 5, 2021.

Born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, Jeff Merkley has never lost touch with his working class roots.

As a U.S. Senator, he works every day to create opportunity for working families, stop the corruption of our democracy, and tackle the climate crisis.

A workhorse and a progressive champion, Jeff Merkley is leading a movement to get our country back on track.

Meet Jeff

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