Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday said the Senate is prepared to advance Covid-19 relief even if Republicans do not sign on.
President Biden wants Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal, but many Republicans find it too expensive. The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.
Sixty votes are needed to overcome a procedural hurdle known as a filibuster to pass legislation.
Reconciliation, on the other hand, allows major legislation to pass the Senate on a simple majority.
President Biden said Monday the decision to use reconciliation is one reserved for the “leaders of the House and the Senate.” He, however, noted that “time is of the essence” to deliver relief to American families—a signal that he is open to using the process to push the legislation through if bipartisan overtures fail.
“We can get a lot of the COVID bill done with reconciliation, and that’s something we certainly will use if they try to block this immediate COVID bill,” Schumer was quoted by MSNBC.
Rep. John Yarmouth, chair of the House Budget Committee, was quoted by the media saying, “We are prepared to go to the floor as early as next week with the reconciliation resolution. We’d all prefer a bipartisan agreement.”