WASHINGTON – Wednesday pushed through Congress to pass a $ 1.9 trillion Kovid-19 relief package as President Joe Biden made clear to Democrats that the need for aid is urgent and to allow lawmakers to measure the Senate A special budgeting process has been prepared for use. Only by a simple majority.
The steps taken by Biden and congressional Democrats indicate that they are not going to wait to negotiate with Republicans who want a smaller package.
“We need to act – we need to act fast,” Biden said on a morning conference call with House Democrats, saying Americans are suffering because of the epidemic, according to a source on the call .
The president said he was “not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people” on a $ 1,400 check, the source said.
According to the source, “money is found in this package,” Biden said, “We can’t walk away with the extra $ 1,400 in the proposed check because people need it, and frankly, they’ve been promised it.” Maybe we can – I think we can target that number better. I’m OK with that. “
Biden indicated he is open to negotiating an overall price tag, stating that Democrats he “does not marry a particular absolute number,” and in a $ 1.9 trillion package of “compromising multiple programs” Is open to
“Many people are starving, out of work, and they are reaching a breaking point,” he said. “And there has been a huge increase in the number of people committing suicide, women being abused in their homes, drug addiction and drug problems.”
In an effort to pass the measure through the Senate, where Democrats hold a razor-thin margin, lawmakers are moving forward with the budget reconciliation process. It will not be subject to a filibuster, allowing the final bill to be passed with a simple majority as long as its provisions are limited to spending and taxes.
This means that if all Democrats are on the board, they can pass the final bill without any Republican support, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote.
Biden met with top Senate Democrats in the White House on Wednesday for 90 minutes to discuss the process being used to write the law. Majority of Senate leaders Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., attended the meeting with the committee for drafting the package. His spokesman told NBC News that Sen. Joi Manchin, a liberal who heads the Energy and Commerce Committee, was not invited because his panel was not involved in the reconciliation process. Manchin has sought to push the law further, focusing more on relief measures.
Schumer said after the meeting that Democrats want the measure to be “big, bold” and should not be “diluted”.
Previously, Biden met separately with his home state senators, Democrat Tom Carper, and Chris Coons in the White House. Carper said his goal is to “put coronovirus in our rearview mirror,” adding, “To the extent that we can work with our Republican colleagues, let’s do that.”
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Il, said in an interview on MSNet’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday that he supported the reconciliation strategy, which Democrats “can’t wait” and “have an urge for”.
In a separate interview on “Morning Joe”, Manchin, who voted on Tuesday to move forward with the reconciliation process, warned that he does not want Democrats to go it alone and ignore Republicans. “I want it to be bipartisan,” he said, adding that there would be an opportunity for his GOP colleagues to amend the bill on the Senate floor.
The White House aims to pass a Kovid-19 relief bill by March 14, which is when the expanded unemployment benefit will expire for millions of Americans, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. The official clarified that Democrats are prepared to use the process to avoid the need for 60 votes to make a film.
After meeting with a group of 10 Republican senators on Monday at the White House, Biden had meetings with Democrats – about a third of the size of Biden’s plan. It would provide $ 160 billion for vaccines, $ 132 billion for a small unemployment benefit, and 1,000 direct payments to Americans.
Meanwhile, Schumer said on the Senate floor on Wednesday that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had told the Democratic Caucus the day before that if Congress fails to pass a relief bill, “we’ll see long-term scarring in our economy and our The country will be evicted. Kovid crisis for years. “
Shuma said, “We should not – repeat the mistakes of the past and do very little, very reluctantly and too late.”
Shannon Pettipes, Kristen Welker, Leah Ann Caldwell and Julie Tsarkin has contributed.