Congressional Democrats are continuing with their plan to force President Joe Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package through Congress.
Senate and House Democrats on Friday passed a budget resolution that will allow them to push the White House’s stimulus bill through Congress without any Republican support, CNBC reported.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claimed that what happened on Friday was a “bipartisan activity.” The votes, however, would suggest otherwise.
In the Senate, the vote on the budget resolution was 50 to 50, along party lines. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, her first, allowing the resolution to go forward.
The resolution makes it possible for the Democrats to use a procedural process known as reconciliation to get Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill through Congress.
Reconciliation lowers the Senate’s typical 60-vote threshold to a simple majority, which seems to be a necessity as Democrats have not been able to get 10 Senate Republicans on board.
CNBC highlighted some of the provisions of Biden’s stimulus bill.
It would include $1,400 direct payments to individuals and an extra $400 per week in unemployment benefits through September. The bill would also allocate $20 billion for coronavirus vaccinations, $30 billion for rent and utility assistance, $50 billion for coronavirus testing, $170 billion for schools, and $350 billion for state and local government relief.
Even some of the more centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), have expressed concern about the price tag of the bill. Republicans have also offered their own $618 billion stimulus bill that the Democrats have rejected.
Now that the budget resolution has passed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Monday the House would “begin working on the specifics of the bill.”
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY), said in a statement, “Next week committees will begin writing the detailed legislative text for the Biden American Rescue Plan, so that we can finish our work well before lifeline unemployment assistance expires. The Budget Committee looks forward to receiving committees’ legislation by February 16 and then preparing the measure for floor consideration.”
Democrats are looking to get Biden’s stimulus bill passed by March 14 which is when the current $300 per week unemployment benefits run out.