GOP senators bulk up on $ 1.9 trillion price tag for Biden’s COVID-19 bill

Washington – Some Republican senators have expressed concern about the $ 1.9 trillion price tag President Biden’s proposal for New Coronavirus Virus Bill, As Congressional Democrats consider pursuing a process to pass legislation without any Republican vote.

Congress passed a $ 900 billion relief bill late last month, but Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats have argued that more action is necessary to stabilize the economy. Republicans have noted that not all of the funds provided by that act have been disbursed.

“The administration sent a resolution of $ 1.9 billion, which we have not yet passed for $ 900 billion,” GOP Senator Rob Portman told reporters on Tuesday. He argued that some provisions in Mr. Biden’s bill, such as providing a minimum wage of $ 15 per hour and funding for cyber security, were unrelated to the epidemic.

Trump pauses for Senate Biden confirmation to begin trial
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, spoke to members of the media on Tuesday January 26, 2021 while walking through the Senate subway at the US Capitol in Washington DC.

Sara Silbiger / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats have the lowest possible majority in the House with 50 seats, and Vice President Kamala Harris casts any tie-breaking vote. Most legislation requires 60 votes in the final debate and sets a full vote on the Senate floor. This means that Democrats will need to get support from 10 Republicans, unless they choose to use the method of passing legislation Budget reconciliation, Which requires only a simple majority vote.

Senate Chief Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that he told fellow Democrats that they should be ready to vote on a budget proposal early next week, which would be the first step to start the budget reconciliation process.

“Our caucus is united in that we need major adventure change,” Schumer told reporters. However, he said “we always hope that [Republicans will] See the light, ”and noted that Republicans can vote in favor of the proposal, even if they proceed with budget reconciliation.

Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said Democrats were already working on writing legislation to restructure the budget.

“We’re working on it right now,” Sanders said. “I think there is consensus. If Republicans aren’t ready to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not waiting. We’re moving soon and aggressively.”

Republican Senator Todd Young told reporters on Monday that he did not think a bipartisan COVID deal would take place until “there is significant movement by the administration.” Mr. Biden has promised to work with Republicans, and Portman said Tuesday that it would be “a big mistake” for Democrats to draft bipartisan legislation with Republicans, rather than using budget restructuring.

“I think it’s really a call from the White House and the Democrats whether they want to work with the bipartisan team to improve the law, or whether they want to push through reconciliation, a bill that is only in the party Came along to participate, ”Republican Senator Mitt Romney told reporters on Tuesday.

a Bipartisan group of 16 senators Biden spoke with administration officials on Sunday to discuss coronovirus law. The one-hour and 15-minute call was set up by Liberal Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Although some participants described the meeting as “productive” and a good first step, Republican Senator Susan Collins, who attended the meeting, called it “premature”, discussing legislative action of this size and scope. She said she would be suggested a more “targeted” package, specifically focusing on vaccine delivery.

Collins said he received more information about the proposal from the White House on Monday, but still needed more information.

“The administration is sending and has sent some data to give us more information about the specifics of its package. We have just received and are starting to go through it. So, this is a good move, but right now The answer to this has not come as well. Colin told reporters on Tuesday that the question of money had still not been allocated.

Democrats still have not ruled out using budget reconciliation to pass coronovirus relief. Lawmakers “have to get it done”, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said on Tuesday.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden told reporters on Monday, “I will not let America’s unemployed come at a time when the numbers are rising, who are being pulled out of the economic situation.”

Jack Terman contributed reporting.


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