Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor on Thursday that Democrats are prepared to use the process of budget reconciliation to get President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief bill passed without coming up against the filibuster, and that the process might start next week.
Schumer said it was Democrats’ “preference” to work with Republicans on getting the bill passed, but that if Republicans pushed for a smaller bill or refused to go along with Democrats they would have to move on without them.
“The dangers of undershooting our response are far greater than overshooting … so the Senate as early as next week will begin the process of considering a very strong COVID relief bill,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.
Should Republicans “decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them,” he said.
“Responsibility to help”
“We have a responsibility to help the American people fast, particularly given these new economic numbers. The Senate will begin that work next week,” Schumer continued.
Schumer signaled his intention to use the budget reconciliation process during a Tuesday conference call with Democrats.
“In keeping our options open on our caucus call today I informed senators to be prepared that a vote on a budget resolution could come as early as next week,” Schumer said during the call.
Budget reconciliation is the same way Democrats managed to get Obamacare passed, and now they are looking to use it to bail out Democrat-run cities that refused to protect their own citizens and business owners during the riots last summer as well as taking on another $1.9 trillion in taxpayer debt.
Bipartisan talks ongoing
A bipartisan group has talked with Biden and met in the Senate to look at options that could be passed without budget reconciliation, and some in that group expressed frustration at the talk of bypassing Republicans entirely to pass relief.
“I think it would be wise for the new administration to work to try to get a bipartisan proposal that can be moved. … We’re giving an opportunity to come together on important and timely legislation so why wouldn’t you do that rather than trying to move it through with reconciliation and having a fully partisan product,” group member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told reporters.
Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) is also in the group, and has called for his party to give bipartisanship a chance.
“I think there’s been direct personal outreach by the president to these Republicans,” Durbin said, noting that Biden had called several Republicans to discuss his plan.