As the US Senate begins debate on Biden’s coronavirus relief package and legislators jockey to include pet projects, the negotiation over the spending goes into override this week. Angus King, an independent Senator aligned with Biden Democrat has been pushing for billions of dollars’ worth of high-speed broadband service in countryside areas – an idea that is likely to attract significant Republican support.
While talking to the news reporters, the upper chamber’s minority leader Mitch McConnell said that he hopes that Republican lawmakers will unanimously oppose the move, arguing that several provisions in the bill had nothing to do with the pandemic outbreak. Yet, Democratic lawmakers are bolstered by the opinion polls that suggest overwhelming support for the proposed relief package.
- US House Approves Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package
- US House Democrats Advance $1.9 Trillion Relief Package
It comes after last week when the House of Representatives passed the bill. Meanwhile, the local media reports suggested that some Democratic lawmakers had been privately discussing reallocating a huge pot of money. On Tuesday, one project that got ditched from the Senate’s version of the bill was a bridge in New York. Republicans had argued that it was an example of funding pet projects because Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader is from the upstate.
However, Reuters reported that Schumer had no idea about the Seaway International Bridge until he read the bill after hearing media reports. It further added that the request to fund the bridge was made by the Department of Transportation last year when the Trump administration was in power.
The new version of the bill approved by the lower chamber of the US Congress would pay for medical supplies, coronavirus vaccination drive, and stimulus payments to unemployed individuals and businesses. The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks, a $400 federal unemployment benefit until the end of August.
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