Biden to meet with Republicans as Senate Democrats prepare to pass COVID bill without GOP support
Democrats prepare to push presidential economic aid package through Senate
They plan to use a procedure that will allow accepting the package without the support of the Republicans
Senate Democrats on Thursday plan to take the first step towards adopting President Joe Biden’s proposed $ 1.9 trillion economic aid package, despite Republican resistance.
Democrats need to pass a budget resolution to trigger what they call a reconciliation process, which will allow them to take the initiative with a simple majority. House of Representatives approved the budget measure on Wednesday.
For the adoption of the majority of bills, at least 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate are required. But the seats are equally divided, and the Republicans oppose the proposal of the Democratic president. Reconciliation would allow 48 Democrats and two independent senators to approve the aid package without Republican support, as Vice President Kamala Harris holds the casting vote.
Senate Democrats and the Biden administration admit the possibility of cooperation with Republicans, but insist on the urgent need for a major aid package in connection with the pandemic, which has already claimed more than 450,000 lives in the country and left millions of Americans without jobs.
“Long food lines across the country are something unheard of in the US,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on ABC. – It is necessary to act urgently and in a big way. We need to create a support mechanism so that the suffering caused by this crisis does not last forever “.
However, Democratic efforts could be complicated by impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump, due to begin this week and could divert attention from the bill..
The budget resolution will provide guidelines for appropriations for House and Senate committees responsible for preparing the pandemic relief package.
Budgetary reconciliation is not a bill and does not require the signature of the president. If the Senate passes it without amendments, the package will return to the House of Representatives, which will have to vote on it again..
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer promised this week that bipartisan amendments would be adopted when the budget resolution was considered. The marathon meeting can drag on into the night.
“We welcome the initiative from both factions,” Schumer said Thursday. “But I urge lawmakers not to forget what this bill means to the American people.”.
Republicans are expected to propose up to 20 amendments on issues ranging from energy and the use of federal lands to presidential decrees..