There is some major developing news regarding the next round of stimulus funding, including stimulus checks.
The Senate passed a vote to begin debate on the potential budget reconciliation which would be a way for the Senate to pass the stimulus checks and other related pandemic relief without even needing a single vote from the GOP.
The measure passed by a margin of 50 to 49, an indication of just how slim the margin is for support.
This is big news.
This means that Congress is one step closer to being able to pass the massive $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal that was headed up by President Biden.
Biden has already expressed that the $618 billion proposal from Republicans is just too small.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer commented on Biden’s latest remarks.
“He was very strong in emphasizing the need for a big, bold package. He said that he told Senate Republicans that the $600 billion that they proposed was way too small. If we did a package that small, we’d be mired in the COVID crisis for years.”
But Biden is also interested in working with Republicans which is why he had a group of 10 Republicans visit the White House on Monday.
While Democrat leaders have also been outspoken about their willingness to negotiate with Republicans, Democrats are looking to act swiftly with respect to the next stimulus relief bill.
“We share President Biden’s desire to advance this legislation in a bipartisan way but the work must move forward,” Schumer said.
“We are not going to dilute, dither or delay because the needs of the American people are just too great.”
Reportedly, Democrats are just gearing up for this budget reconciliation route in case the negotiations do not go anywhere.
So it’s a bit of a back up plan.
“By the end of the week, we will be finished with the budget resolution, which will be about reconciliation, if needed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
“I hope we don’t need it. But if we need it, we will have it.”
It’s important to note that if the budget reconciliation route does happen, some measures within the stimulus bill likely will not be allowed to be included.
That is because there are specific rules for what can be passed via budget reconciliation and some items may not qualify.
For example, including the $15 minimum wage increase likely could be problematic.
“Now we’re hearing rumors about trying to use trying to break the reconciliation rules to pass things like a $15 minimum wage and so forth,” Sen. John Cornyn said.
“But that would just destroy the Senate as an institution just as bad as eliminating the filibuster.”
Democrats will likely aggressively pursue some of these items anyway and force Republicans to resort to specific procedures to oppose them.
So I expect this stimulus round to be even more contentious than the past two rounds but this round also might not drag out as long as the last one did precisely because of the reconciliation route.
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