Biden Stimulus: Democrats Speed ​​Up on Economic Aid Package

WASHINGTON – Democrats on Tuesday took the first step to push through President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion economic rescue plan, using a budgetary maneuver that could eventually allow the measure to become law without Republican support.

The move advanced a two-track strategy that Sh. Biden And Democratic leaders are working to speed up the aid package through Congress: show Republicans they have the votes to pass an ambitious spending bill with only one Democratic backing, but in hopes of garnering Republican support Some offer to negotiate the details.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat and Majority Leader of New York, said on the Senate floor, “We are not going to thin, delay or delay.” “There is nothing about this process that prevents bipartisanship.”

A party-line vote of 50 to 49 set the stage for Democrats to pursue Mr. Biden’s plan through budget reconciliation, which would allow it to pass with a simple majority, bypassing the need for Republican support. . (Republican Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania was absent and did not vote because he was delayed by snow.)

The vote came 10 days after Republican senators Met at White House with Mr. Biden Is wanting A small, $ 618 billion package He can win bipartisan support.

Mr. Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen virtually met with Senate Democrats at lunchtime on Tuesday afternoon.

“Congress talked about the need to respond boldly and quickly,” Mr. Biden said later. “He was very strong in stressing the need for a big bold package. He said he told Senate Republicans that the $ 600 billion he would propose was too small.

While Mr. Biden said he told Republicans that he was ready to make some amendments to his proposal, he and Ms. Yellen told the group that if the Senate adopted the Republican plan, “We will go for years in the Kovid crisis , ”According to Mr. Schumer.

Senate Democrats may approve the budget proposal as soon as Friday. On Tuesday, a prominent Democratic senator announced he would support it: Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a key swing vote, said he would agree to move forward with the budget process “because we need Kovid-19’s Readiness should address the crisis. “

“But let me be clear – and these are words I’ve shared with President Biden – our focus should be on the Kovid-19 crisis and the Americans who have been most affected by this epidemic,” Mr. Munchin He said in a statement, he still signs that he can vote against aspects of Mr. Biden’s plan that he opposes. “I will only support proposals that will get us through the pain of this epidemic and end it.”

Mr. Mnuchin also reiterated his opposition to Mr. Biden’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 per hour, which could force Democrats to drop it from their legislative package.

The budget proposal would direct congressional committees to draft legislation that could include Mr. Biden’s stimulus proposal, including $ 1,400 direct payments to many Americans, funding for vaccine delivery, reopening schools, and other measures . The committees will work to scuttle the plan at the same time that Senate former President Donald J. Trump is about to be impeached. On charges, he attacked on 6 January On the capitol.

It was introduced by resistance from Republicans, who discussed the proposal with Mr. Biden in the White House on Monday evening and warned against it Chase it through reconciliation. Many of those senators voted for the 2017 tax cut legislation that Republican leaders passed through reconciliation without a single Democratic vote.

Some Republican senators considered Mr. Biden receptive to his proposals, but his chief of staff, Ron Clann, sacked his head during the Republican’s presentation, according to one participant in the meeting.

Senator Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, said, “It’s not a good sign that he is adopting a take-it-or-leave-it approach as soon as his president makes an inaugural speech based on unity.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican and minority leader from Kentucky under Mr. Trump, who both reconciled for tax cuts and unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said a group of 10 Republicans met with the White House Left to believe Mr. Biden was more interested in compromise than his staff or Mr. Schumer.

“They have chosen a completely partisan path,” Mr. McConnell said of the Democrats in the Senate.

MPs have begun pushing for changes to the Biden plan, including Democrats who pushed its costs to recoup for one on Tuesday Business tax break Congress approved last year.

More than 100 lawmakers, led by Texas Representative Lloyd Doggate and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, say – and related changes that would effectively raise taxes on some businesses in the coming years – whether to borrow federal for aid packages Could exceed $ 250 billion.

“Doug and Mr. Whitegate said in a written statement,” The best place to start is for Republicans. Eliminating $ 250 billion bonus for hedge fund managers and real estate bookies.

The tax cuts in question – which centers on the so-called net operating deficit – were included in Congress, a rescue bill passed in March, as the epidemic spread and the nation was in the midst of a recession. They were a temporary rollback of the limit placed on trade cuts that Republicans passed by the 2017 tax law and signed by Mr. Trump. In fact, the March provision allowed some companies to apply those losses in recent years to the federal government to reduce their tax bills to compensate for taxes on profits from the previous five years.

Supporters of those tax breaks – including Congressional Republicans and business groups – said the move would give cash benefits to companies struggling in the midst of the epidemic.

Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday proposed repealing the change, which applies to losses from 2018 to 2020, and makes the Trump-era threshold permanent when net operating losses are withdrawn.

Mr. Biden faced pressure on Tuesday to trim his spending plans and reach a compromise with Republicans on Tuesday from an influential business group that had welcomed his initial proposal.

In a four-page letter to Mr. Biden and Congress leaders, the US Chamber of Commerce said lawmakers should prioritize money for vaccine distribution, school reopening, and childcare facilities in their funding package. It asked them to tie additional aid for the long-term unemployed to economic conditions in the states, leading to cuts in aid when the economy improves, and to provide less assistance to unemployed workers that Mr. Biden has proposed.

The Chamber also pushed Mr. Biden to reduce the number of eligible Americans to receive direct payments, most of whom reported that the majority of families earning more than $ 50,000 a year did not have an epidemic income is.

White House press secretary JN Sasaki told reporters Tuesday that Mr Biden wanted to send payments to a large group of families, including some six-figure incomes. He cited a fictional couple in Scranton, earning $ 120,000 per year, and Mr. Biden said that “they should get a check.”

Karl Hulsey Contributed to reporting.

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