Democratic leaders in the US Senate forged ahead with their coronavirus stimulus package as legislators approved a budget outline. Experts suggest that it will allow the Democrats to muscle Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill in the coming weeks despite the Republican opposition.
Following the Senate’s approval, the lower chamber of the US Congress passed the budget outline by a party-line vote of 219-209. Interestingly, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate for the first time since her inauguration. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that the coronavirus stimulus package could pass Congress by mid-March when the unemployment benefits would expire.
- Biden Unveils $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package
- Republicans Press Biden To Cut $1.9 Trillion Coroanvirus Package
During a high-level meeting at the White House, top Democrats and President Biden maintained that they wanted to enact a comprehensive aid package to beat the pandemic outbreak that has so far killed more than 450,000 American residents. Plus, Biden also stated that he was ready to compromise with Republican legislators, albeit they don’t slow down the approval process.
The newly-elected President said that growing weakness in the job market proved the need for such a measure. On the other hand, the Republican leadership has floated a $600 billion aid plan. Also, some Democrats like Larry Summers, the former economic advisor to Obama, have warned that the new administration might be spending too much.
Michael Burgess, a Republican House member, said that the US Congress should wait until the previous $4 trillion has been spent and added that as much as $1 trillion is yet to go out of the door. The Budget resolution is likely to help Democrats approve the spending bill in the Senate without the Republican support, meaning that they can pass the package with a simple majority in the hundred-member chamber. Besides, Democrats maintain a thin majority in the House of Representatives.
Additionally, the US Senate voted against an immediate increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15; and the Senators also backed the resolution for $1,400 direct payments to be tailored for low-income families only.
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