UPDATED 3:00 PM PT – Saturday, January 30, 2021
Senior Democrats said they’re looking to pass a COVID-19 relief package without Republican support.
Speaking at the Senate floor on Thursday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the upper chamber will begin considering a Democrat-led COVID-19 relief bill next week. This came despite Republicans criticizing Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal for being overly priced and including a controversial provision that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Schumer went on to say Democrats will seek to pass the bill on their own if Republicans “don’t recognize big action” must be taken.
“We are in the midst of a once in a century crisis. It requires a once in a century effort to overcome it,” Schumer stated. “The dangers of undershooting our response are far greater than overshooting.”
Although a bill typically requires 60 votes to advance in the Senate, Democrats are seeking to propose the legislation through “budget reconciliation,” a process used to advance high priority fiscal legislation, which only requires a simple majority.
Although the Senate is currently split 50-50, Vice President Kamala Harris is poised to break the tie.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) echoed Schumer’s remarks later on Thursday. She said although she would like to cooperate with the GOP, Democrats will push on with the bill by any means necessary.
“We would hope that we would have bipartisan cooperation to meet the needs of the American people in terms of their health, in terms of distribution in an equitable way of the vaccine, continue with testing, tracing, treatment, etc., but also to meet their economic needs,” Pelosi stated. “So, we would hope that, but we’re not taking any tools off the table should they not.”‘
She said the House is preparing to bring a budget resolution required for reconciliation for a vote next week before it is sent to the Senate.