President Joe Biden and his allies on Capitol Hill appear committed to passing a massive COVID-19 relief bill by any means necessary.
Indicating their belief that there is no time for delay, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) began a process this week that would allow them to bypass the filibuster requirement for a 60-vote majority for the proposal to pass in the Senate.
“The time for decisive action is now”
As the Washington Times reported, the Democratic leaders issued a joint statement on Monday.
“The cost of inaction is high and growing, and the time for decisive action is now,” they declared.
Essentially introducing the budget for 2021, Pelosi and Schumer kicked off a complex process that could allow them to pass Biden’s relief bill with a simple majority. The process, known as budget reconciliation, has been used more than 20 times since the 1980s.
If their resolution passes both chambers of Congress, individual committees will follow tailored instructions to assemble the relief legislation.
The latest COVID clash follows months of partisan stalemates through which the GOP frequently accused Pelosi of working to advance an agenda unrelated to the pandemic.
“Will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment”
Despite Biden’s promise of bipartisanship, many in his party are embracing a sense of haste as their Republican colleagues cry foul.
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), his party’s ranking Budget Committee member, said Democrats are working to “reward special interest while harming America’s working class, increasing the cost of living for American families, destroying jobs, and weakening the economy.”
Schumer gave a feeble nod to reaching across the aisle, indicating that Republican input is “welcome” even if it is not a necessity.
Biden is also apparently on board the effort to rush through his nearly $2 trillion proposal, insisting on Friday that relief would pass “no ifs, ands, or buts.”
Despite a meeting with a group of Republicans who are pushing a $618 billion compromise, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made it clear that Biden “will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response and will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment.”