How stimulus checks may get passed (even with no Republican support)

After the 2020 elections, Democrats gained control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.

In the Senate, things came down to a runoff in Georgia and Democrats swept both seats.

This allowed Democrats to create a 50-50 split within the Senate and the Constitution provides that the vice president will be the tiebreaker in those situations.

Since Vice President Kamala Harris is a Democrat, this put the majority for the Democrats by a margin of a single vote.

This shift in power was a very exciting change for people hoping to receive the maximum stimulus relief benefits because Democrats have always been pushing for much larger relief bills than Republicans.

But that excitement was a little bit limited when people discovered that typically for a bill like a stimulus provision to get passed, 60 votes would be needed in the Senate.

This means that even if every Democrat in the Senate is on board with the stimulus package (which is not a guarantee), at least 10 Republican senators would need to get on board.

The latest proposal is valued at about $1.9 trillion which is way over the budget that Republicans had so even getting 10 Republicans on board could prove to be extremely difficult if not impossible.

This means that the stimulus package will likely have to come in a lot smaller, perhaps at around $1.1 trillion.

But there is also another way that the Senate could pass a large bill.

They could resort to something known as a budget reconciliation which is a way that lawmakers can pass a bill with a simple majority requiring only 51 votes.

Only policies that change spending or revenues can be included in this type of special process and only certain kinds of amendments can be offered.

I’m not exactly sure on all of the specifics but apparently stimulus relief, or more specifically stimulus checks, would qualify for this route to be taken.

Biden reportedly is not super interested in this route but his press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters on Wednesday that “we are not going to take any tools off the table.”

Personally, I think it is more likely that we will see a standalone stimulus bill or a smaller stimulus bill containing stimulus checks that gets voted on separately.

But for those worried about the lack of votes needed to pass a large bill, this budget reconciliation method could prove to be a way to get aid out, even if zero Republicans get on board with the new bill.

And even if Democrats don’t resort to budget reconciliation, if Republicans know Democrats will inevitably pursue this route, they may be more likely to simply support stimulus checks, especially given how popular the checks are to voters.

Related

Third stimulus check update: When to expect the next bill

Biden signs executive orders for stimulus checks and minimum wage

New stimulus relief could be much higher for low income Americans

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