The Senate will move forward on more COVID-19 relief — with or without Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says.
“The Senate, as early as next week, will begin the process of considering a very strong Covid relief bill,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Our preference is to make this important work bipartisan, to include input, ideas and revisions from our Republican colleagues.”
He added, “But if our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them.”
Schumer also indicated that he does not want to cut the package in a major way, calling that “irresponsible” to do so at “a time when the economy needs a boost.”
Democratic lawmakers would have to use reconciliation to pass a coronavirus relief package without Republican support, The Hill notes.
Schumer said on Tuesday at a press conference, “I informed senators to be prepared, that a vote on a budget resolution could come as early as next week.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also told reporters during her press conference on Thursday, “We will pass a reconciliation bill if we need it.”
“We would hope that we would have bipartisan cooperation to meet the needs of the American people… so we would hope that but, we aren’t taking any tool off the table,” she added.
See Pelosi’s comments below:
"We will pass a reconciliation bill if we need it. We would hope that we would have bipartisan cooperation to meet the needs of the American people… so we would hope that but, we aren't taking any tool off the table," Speaker Pelosi says on the COVID-19 relief bill. pic.twitter.com/qH7e14mVLb— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 28, 2021
President Joe Biden previously laid out a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which includes putting money toward vaccination distribution, funding for small businesses, another round of stimulus checks, among others.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated on Thursday morning that the Biden administration is not looking for a split package. She also said it should not be a partisan issue.
“The needs of the American people are urgent from putting food on the table, to getting vaccines out the door to reopening schools. Those aren’t partisan issues,” Psaki tweeted. “We are engaging with a range of voices —that’s democracy in action — we aren’t looking to split a package in two.”
White House economic adviser Brian Deese responded to Psaki’s tweet, writing, “The needs of the American people aren’t partial; we can’t do this piecemeal.”
Additionally, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield tweeted, “Despite what you may have read this morning, we aren’t planning to split the Rescue Plan in two. We believe the American people need all of the help it will provide — now.”