House GOP leaders recommend 'no' vote on Biden relief bill

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 20, 2021

"I'm open to that", Biden said.

"Republican leaders, searching for a way to derail the proposal, on Friday led a final attempt to tarnish the package, labeling it a 'payoff to progressives.' The bill, they said, spends too much and includes a liberal wish list of programs like aid to state and local governments - which they call a 'blue state bailout, ' though many states facing shortfalls are controlled by Republicans - and increased benefits for the unemployed, which they argued would discourage people from looking for work", the newspaper reported.

But many Republicans, who presented their own $600 billion counterproposal, believe such a large stimulus bill is not needed and would only add to the ballooning national debt.

Biden spoke as the House prepares to take up the legislation next week, with Senate action to follow.

The House is expected to vote on the legislation next week and Democrats hope the Senate can reach a vote before the current federal unemployment benefits run out in mid-March. It awaits a verdict from the Senate parliamentarian before the issue is on the table. "We will meet this deadline", Schumer wrote in a Friday letter to Senate Democrats. Because the IRS is also processing tax returns, it could take longer to send stimulus checks depending on how quickly the IRS processes the money.

Analysts have questioned the need for the $350 billion for state and local governments in the plan after states brought in more revenue than had been expected when the pandemic first took hold a year ago. In order for the bill to pass without unanimous Democratic support, at least one Republican would have to vote in favor.

Democrats have made a decision to ram the package through Congress using a rare tactic known as "budget reconciliation" which will allow them to bypass any Republican dissent and pass the bailout with a simple majority vote.

Under budget reconciliation, provisions without a budgetary impact are prohibited.

Because the Senate is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, Democrats can't afford to lose a single vote if they proceed without GOP support under "budget reconciliation".

The legislation, which had already been passed in pieces out of individual committees, was packaged together by the House Budget Committee. It includes money for vaccines and testing, for schools, even a proposal to raise the minimum wage. Manchin indicated earlier in the week that he could be open to a lower increase of around $11 or more an hour, according to activists who met with him, while Sinema has separately promoted other priorities for the bill, specifically additional funding to help small restaurants.

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