UPDATED 7:37 AM PT – Monday, February 1, 2021
Joe Biden has been promising for months to work with both political parties to pass legislation. However, Democrats are now discussing plans to bypass Republicans and approve a large scale coronavirus relief package on their own.
On Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) said he believes there are enough Democrat votes to pass the $1.9 trillion bill dubbed the American Rescue Plan. He noted, he and other Democrats still have misgivings about the bill, but are simply supporting Joe Biden’s administration.
Families and businesses need our help, now. That’s why @POTUS and I are calling on Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan, which:
– Gets people vaccinated
– Provides resources so that schools can safely reopen
– Gets economic relief to individuals
– Helps small businesses
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) January 28, 2021
Democrats are coming under fire for renouncing their promises of bipartisanship so soon into the Biden administration. Meanwhile, Republicans have maintained their own concerns about the relief bill, primarily its budget price.
In response, 10 Republican lawmakers introduced their own relief bill, which is expected to be between $500 and $600 billion. In a memo to Biden, the GOP lawmakers, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), said they recognized Biden’s calls for unity and want to work in good faith to address economic, health and societal challenges.
The Republicans’ legislation includes $160 billion for COVID vaccines and testing in addition to producing and providing more PPE, which is similar to Democrats plan. It also extends federal unemployment benefits and provides additional resources for small businesses.
Senior Democrats touted getting rid of the filibuster as a way to pass the COVID relief without Republicans, but the notion was slammed by Republicans and two Democrats who vowed to vote against such a move.