|Senate COVID Stimulus Vote-A-Rama Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said from the chamber floor on Thursday, “no matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week.” But that’s a tall order given what Republicans have planned. There have already been delays in getting this legislation to the Senate floor, mainly getting a green light from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to ensure the bill is in compliance with Senate rules regarding “budget reconciliation.” This would allow Democrats to pass it with a simple majority and without Republican support. Putting the CBO issue to the side, some Senate Republicans plan to draw out the debate over the bill as long as they possibly can. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) requested the entire 628-page bill be read out loud, so Senate clerks spent 10 hours and 44 minutes reading the length of the bill, wrapping up after 2 am. The Senate returned this morning for the “vote-a-rama” in which potentially hundreds of amendments could be introduced in order to further drag out the debate and to bring more public awareness to pieces of the legislation that are particularly contentious or unpopular.The package is now expected to get a vote on Saturday, but just before the Senate adjourned in the wee hours of the morning, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) asked for three hours of debate once they resume today instead of the possible 20. No Republicans (including Johnson) were there to object so the agreement was made. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is expected to offer an amendment to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour despite the Senate parliamentarian ruling that including it would violate Senate reconciliation rules. He doesn’t expect the amendment to pass, but it will force all members to record their stance on the issue, just like many of the amendments Republicans will be offering. More on that below.|
|Prices at 7 a.m. EST: How many Yea votes in the Senate for the American Rescue Plan?|
|Johnson is also leading a plan to keep senators “focused” on dragging out the debate. “I’m coming up with a process that keeps people from tiring out. I’m getting sign ups. I’m laying out a three shift schedule,” he said.The Wisconsin senator’s plan isn’t novel nor new. Such tactics are often deployed by the opposition party to raise public awareness over highly partisan or contentious legislation and to force a public vote over more unpopular aspects of the bill. In recent polling, 76 percent of voters supported the stimulus bill, including 60 percent of Republicans. Democrats are aiming to push this relief package through before enhanced employment benefits from the last government stimulus last year run out on March 14. If the Senate approves the legislation, it will move back to the House where another vote is needed before it finally heads to the president’s desk.|
|How Will This Play in 2022 Republicans have voiced objections to several aspects of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), including the amount of money going to “bail out” state and local governments which they see as having mismanaged their budgets long before the pandemic, primarily in areas with majority Democrat leadership. They also point out that for a COVID relief bill there is a small amount actually going to deal with COVID (two percent), and an even smaller amount (one percent) directed to helping with vaccine distribution.|
|Prices at 7 a.m. EST: Will either party control both the Senate and House in 2022?|
|As the minority, the Republicans’ only play is to use the “vote-a-rama” to raise these issues as amendments and use the Democratic votes as possible campaign messaging in the 2022 midterms. The same idea applies to Sanders’ play on the $15 federal minimum wage.The Republican tactic also shows their base that they’re fighting for conservative priorities, but the bill will pass, ensuring that in the end they aren’t responsible for blocking the popular aid during a pandemic. Vote-a-rama is a win-win for Republicans.|
|Prices at 7 a.m. EST: Will the federal minimum wage be $9.50 per hour or higher by Sept. 1?|
|Not like other games, online casino games or sweepstakes. Prediction markets are very close to political science and data driven.|
|Market Pulse: The first day for the “How many ‘Yea’ votes in the Senate for the American Rescue Plan” market reflected the partisan split in the vote to take up the bill. Traders priced the “50 votes” contract as high as 77¢ (after the opening hour of trading) before it closed at 71¢. That is almost 45¢ above the second highest traded contract of “51 votes,” which would require at least one Republican to cross the aisle.Traders banking on a final vote tally of “51 votes” hope that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will switch her vote when the time comes. The Alaskan senator voted along party lines on Thursday when she voted against advancing the bill, but has yet to say how she will vote at the final hurdle. The market tracking a federal minimum wage hike this year is trading at 16¢ and has been hovering between 20¢ and 13¢ all week. With traders holding the price of this contract at near market lows, it would appear something drastic would need to happen for this market to resolve yes by Sept. 1.|
|New York Gov. Andrew Will Andrew Cuomo resign?|
Cuomo Digs In as He Refuses to Resign At a press conference on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told reporters that he would not be stepping down amidst multiple accusations of sexual harassment and a scandal involving the deliberate coverup of COVID-related deaths in the state’s nursing homes. Regarding the sexual harassment, Cuomo apologized that he “acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” and said “I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it. And frankly, I am embarrassed about it.” Cuomo also said during the presser, “I do not believe I have ever done anything in my public career that I am ashamed of. ”New York legislative leaders have announced a plan that would immediately remove the emergency authority given to Cuomo last year in the wake of the pandemic. Several Democrats have called on Cuomo to resign this week, including six socialist legislators, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report in January concluding that the executive office should have included the number of people who died after being transferred from long-term care facilities in its nursing home death toll. James also declared this week that she would launch an investigation into the allegations against Cuomo after two former aides and a woman he interacted with at a wedding accused him of sexual harassment.
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|Price at 7:30 a.m. EST: Will Andrew Cuomo be Governor of New York at the end of the year?|
|Market Pulse: Despite the growing scandals, traders have stayed bullish on Cuomo’s chances of making it through the end of the year as governor. The market finished its first day of trading on Feb. 25 at 71¢ and its lowest closing price was 47¢ on March 1 when a third woman came forward with sexual harassment allegations. Since then the market has generally trended upwards and closed Thursday at 57¢.The market doesn’t seem to reflect sentiments about the nursing home coverup, which broke on Jan. 28 — almost a month before the market opened — and has mostly been overtaken by the sexual harassment claims in the news. Though, a new report from the Wall Street Journal this morning has seen a 6¢ jump in the contract price to 63¢ as of 10 a.m. EST.
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