BREAKING NEWS: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer introduce $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan in sign they will try to muscle it through without Republican support despite Joe Biden’s bipartisan talks
- Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer introduced their budget proposal
- It also will pave the way for President Joe Biden to pass his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan without any Republican support
- Democratic leaders dropped their plan an hour before Biden is to meet with Republican senators at the White House about their compromise proposal
- Dem plan would allow legislation to pass with simple majority in Senate
- It would also allow the Senate to pass the budget and COVID relief before Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins next week
- Republicans have protested, saying it goes against Biden’s call for unity
The Democratic congressional leaders dropped their plan an hour before Biden was to meet with Republican senators at the White House to discuss a compromise proposal from the GOP – one that is considerably less than the president’s, clocking in at $600 billion for coronavirus relief.
Pelosi and Schumer’s resolution contains a provision for a process called ‘reconciliation’ – a legislative procedure that allows them to prevent the use of the filibuster in the Senate and lets the legislation pass with a simply majority of 51 votes.
With an even 50-50 split in the upper chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris the tie breaker, Biden would be able to get his $1.9 trillion plan without any Republicans on board.
Republicans have protested such a move, saying it goes against Biden’s call for unity.
Allowing passage by a simple majority would also allow the Senate to deal with the federal budget and coronavirus relief before Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins next week.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer introduced their budget proposal that also will pave the way for Joe Biden to pass his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan without any Republican support
The Democratic congressional leaders dropped their plan an hour before President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with Republican senators at the White House about their compromise proposal
At her daily press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of Biden’s meeting with the GOP Senators: ‘What this meeting is not is a forum for the president to make or accept an offer.’
She added of Biden: ‘His view is that the size of the package needs to be commensurate with a crisis crises we’re facing the dual crises we’re facing. And why he proposed a package that’s $1.9 trillion.’
Biden spoke with Schumer and Pelosi on Sunday.
Psaki’s hardline along with the resolution from the Democratic leadership appears to leave little room for compromise to emerge from the White House meeting.
The ten Republican votes, combined with the backing of 50 Democrats and independents, would be enough to move bipartisan legislation quickly through the Senate.
‘Mr. President, we recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your administration to meet the health, economic and societal challenges of the COVID crisis,’ the 10 GOP senators – including Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski – said in a statement on Monday.
Announcing the Democratic proposal on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, Schumer made a similar statement: ‘The only thing we cannot accept is a package that is too small or too narrow to pull our country out of this emergency. We cannot repeat the mistake of 2009 and we must act very soon to get this assistance to those so desperately in need.’
He noted that Republican input would be welcome.
‘There is nothing in this process that will preclude it from being bipartisan. We welcome Republican input,’ he said.
It’s unclear when the Senate will vote on the plan. The House is posed to pass it on Wednesday.
A group of 10 moderate Republicans, in an effort led by Senator Susan Collins of Maine (right), are proposing a $600 billion package as a counter to Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah (left) has also signed on board with the counter-plan
Schumer will need the support of every Democratic senator, including conservative Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
The proposal from the Democratic leadership is in line with what Biden wanted in his COVID relief measure: $1,400 per-person and per-child direct payments, an extension of Unemployment Insurance programs through September 2021, and more money for state and local governments.
The GOP offer doesn’t include money for state and local governments, includes a smaller weekly unemployment benefit and a smaller stimulus check.
Schumer will need the support of every member of his caucus in order to get both through the Senate.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia refused to say last week if he would vote for the resolution.
Harris did local interviews in West Virginia and Arizona last week, which was seen as the White House putting pressure on Manchin and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema.