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Biden urges Senate Democrats to gather behind the $ 1.9 T virus bill

Washington – President Joe Biden urges Senate Democrats to rally behind the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 bailout bill, even if moderates from some parties try to dial back parts of the package We supported a $ 1,400 payment proposal to.

“He said the bill needs to be passed and passed immediately. That’s what the American people sent us here, and we need to get the support we need from the United States. “There is,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, who explained Biden’s 20-minute telephone conference with Democratic senators on Tuesday.

The president’s cry for unity came as a Democrat, but he couldn’t afford to vote in the 50-50 Senate, arranging a protracted division over a new bill. They included moderate efforts to focus spending more narrowly on those most hit by the deadly pandemic and the consequent economic contraction.

Biden used Twitter to signal that lawmakers wouldn’t give in to his request to add another $ 1,400 to the $ 600 that millions received from the December bailout. The new installment accounts for almost a quarter of the total cost of the bill.

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“In reality, $ 600 isn’t enough. The Senate must pass the US rescue program and finish the job of providing $ 2,000 in direct relief.

A huge bailout package is a moment that is too big to fail for a politically staggering president if a controlled parliament is still not realized, although it is tightly controlled by the Democratic Party. Killing 500,000 Americans and conquering the virus that hunts down the economy and countless lives is Biden’s top priority.

So far, the Republicans have followed the template they set up during President Barack Obama’s time. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Said he hoped Republican senators would unanimously oppose the bill.

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McConnell accused Democrats of ignoring signs that the economy and the deadly viral rampage had begun to turn around and shy away from Republicans. Biden met with ten Republican senators last month and offered a $ 600 billion plan, one-third the size of himself, but no effort was made to find a midpoint.

“The new administration has made a conscious effort to thwart us,” McConnell told reporters. “We will fight this in the best possible way.”

Democrats use special rules that allow them to avoid Republican filibusters that require them to get 60 votes, which is impossible to approve the bill.

The Senate bill was expected to largely reflect the House-approved package, with the most obvious difference that the decline in Senate language raised the federal minimum wage to $ 15 per hour.

Schumer said the Senate debate began Wednesday and predicted that he would “get the votes needed to pass the bill.” ..

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The bill includes hundreds of billions of dollars for schools and universities, COVID-19 vaccines and tests, mass transit systems, renters, and small businesses. There is also support for states that are willing to extend the coverage of money for childcare, tax deductions for families with children, and Medicaid for low-income residents.

The two said Biden had told Democrats that they needed to accept the clauses they disliked on a large scale. And it was clear that there were still moving parts.

Perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said he wanted to cut the bill’s $ 400 weekly emergency unemployment allowance to $ 300. This is the same amount that Congress approved in December last year, and in addition to the state’s regular benefits, Mr Manchin said higher numbers would discourage people from returning to work.

“The doors open badly and no one is working,” Manchin said of the reopening. Top Democrats and progressives are opposed to reducing these profits, but Schumer said, “they are discussing it,” suggesting that a final decision awaits.

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Senator Angus King of Maine wants to set a minimum for local governments at $ 350 billion in bills against state and local governments, demanding $ 50 billion to improve broadband coverage. He said he was.

So far, no one has threatened to sink the bill if they get lost, despite the great influence of all Democrats, as all votes are required. Everyone knows how that will shake Biden’s presidency and the productivity of Democrats in this parliament.

“We want to get the biggest and strongest bill that we can pass, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Schumer said.

There were signs that the loose end had fallen into place. In one symptom, 11 Democratic senators will ask Biden to use a huge upcoming infrastructure bill to generate the benefits of regularly paid bailouts and unemployment that are automatically triggered by economic conditions. Prompted to.

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Some progressives wanted to include these payments in the COVID-19 bill. Democratic promotion to include it in later legislation suggested efforts to satisfy progressives while avoiding endangering the current package.

However, progressives are still wise about the de facto certainty that the Senate bill lacks a minimum wage increase, which has been fixed at $ 7.25 per hour since 2009.

A nonpartisan parliamentarian at the Chamber of Commerce said last week that including the increase violated Senate budget rules. Opposition by moderates, including Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Cinema, D-Arizona, left Democrats without the votes needed to save it.

Our Revolutionary Fundraising Email, a progressive political committee initiated by supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), emphasized leftist anger. Sanders is the Chief Senate sponsor of salary increases.

“The politician in the way of change is Vice President Kamala Harris,” citing the possibility that she, already rejected by the White House, will hold a tiebreaker senate to dismiss parliamentarians. , The e-mail said. “If she decides to turn her back on an essential worker, hold her accountable.”

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The bill’s Senate drafters also removed a small provision that would provide $ 1.5 million to maintain and operate the bridge in northern New York that connects the United States and Canada. Funds were removed after some Republicans criticized it as an example of a wasteful spending item that should not be part of the COVID bailout bill.

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AP Parliamentary correspondent Lisa Mascaro and AP writer Kevin Flaking contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Biden urges Senate Democrats to gather behind the $ 1.9 T virus bill

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