Among the first major proposals of the Biden administration was the push for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.
Judging from recent efforts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), their party in Congress is getting ready to ram the proposal through the legislative process.
Lowering the bar
According to the Daily Wire, the two Democratic leaders have introduced a measure that would allow Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s stimulus proposal — even without support from the GOP.
With a Senate split evenly between the two parties, Vice President Kamala Harris will cast any decisive votes, presumably in favor of the Biden administration, that become necessary as the result of a tie. Of course, Democrats would need the support of Senate Republicans to attain the 60-vote threshold necessary to pass a measure like Biden’s COVID-19 bill.
It is unclear whether Democrats are confident that they would attract that GOP support, with many in the minority party declaring that the proposal amounts to little more than a partisan wishlist.
As a result, a joint resolution introduced by Schumer and Pelosi on Monday would provide their party with another avenue toward passing the bill.
In its first step in the so-called reconciliation process, the Democratic leaders are effectively hoping to lower the necessary 60-vote threshold to a simple majority.
This process has rarely been used since it was first implemented nearly a half-century ago. One of the most notable occurrences in recent years was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which sailed through under reconciliation rules despite receiving no Republican support.
One of the requirements of utilizing the reconciliation process is for lawmakers to put related instructions in writing, which is what Pelosi and Schumer have done with their joint resolution.
Nevertheless, Biden agreed to meet with 10 Senate Republicans on Monday to discuss a more bipartisan COVID-19 relief package.
For his part, the president is hoping to achieve a plan that includes everything from $1,400 direct stimulus payments to rent assistance and local government bailouts.
In contrast, the GOP-backed compromise tips the scales at a relatively low $618 billion. It includes funding for $1,000 stimulus payments, but with a higher cap for eligibility. While the meeting between Biden and Senate Republicans might be seen as a step in the right direction, reports indicate the two sides did not reach an agreement.