COVID relief bill battles to test Biden’s promise of ‘unity’

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    Republicans want $ 1.9 trillion as Democrats test Bipartiship desire, offering $ 618bn deal.

    In the first major test of whether United States Republicans and Democrats can work together under President Joe Biden, a group of 10 Republican senators gave the new president a $ 618bn coronovirus relief plan in the White House on Monday.

    President Biden has proposed a more ambitious legislative package that is valued at $ 1.9 trillion and Democratic members of his party are prepared to push the bill through Congress without a Republican vote.

    The political choice for Biden comes as a surprise: fulfill your campaign promise to try to unify the country after years of partition, or what Democrats want for COVID-19 relief to achieve a bipartisan agreement with Republicans , Leave something.

    “This is a possible deal,” said Keith Wheatington, a professor of politics at Princeton University.

    “It depends on whether Biden wants to set a tone of bipartisanship,” Whittington told Al Jazeera.

    The 10 Republican senators met with Biden in the White House on January 31, sending a letter on January 31 urging him to negotiate Democratic votes instead of a large relief package through Congress.

    Senator Susan Collins, who is leading a group of liberal Republicans, including Senators Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and Shelley Moore Capito, told reporters the group had an “excellent” meeting with Biden, but they reached an agreement Did not come

    Collins said she was optimistic, though Congress may pass another COVID-19 relief package.

    Republicans had reminded Biden in his letter that, in his inauguration speech, he had declared that the challenges facing America “require the most elusive things in democracy … unity”.

    The Democratic-controlled House and Senate are set to vote on the budget proposal as soon as possible this week, which would require only a simple majority vote in a grassroots-divided Senate at the time to pass an aid package under the rules .

    Working pressure

    Prior to Biden’s meeting with senators, Democrats on Monday jointly filed a 1.9 trillion budget measure, an important step toward sidelining Republicans on COVID-19 relief.

    “Democrats welcome the views and input of our Senate Republican colleagues. The only thing we cannot accept is a package that is too small or too narrow to get our country out of this emergency, ”said Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer.

    Pressuring Congress to take action, additional unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid approved in 2020 is set to expire in March.

    Republicans are proposing slimmer benefits, including a direct payment of $ 1,000 per person, making up to $ 40,000 per year, or $ 80,000 for couples. Individuals earning more than $ 50,000, and couples earning more than $ 100,000, will not be eligible.

    Biden proposes a $ 1,400 incentive check for high-income people up to $ 300,000 per year.

    According to the draft, the cornerstone of the GOP plan is $ 160 billion for Healthcare Response – vaccine distribution, testing, protective gear, and large-scale funds for rural hospitals.

    Other elements of the package are similar, but come in small amounts, with $ 20 billion to reopen in schools and $ 40 billion for paycheck protection program vocational assistance.

    Senate vote

    It would be important for Biden to win the support of 10 Republicans in the 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaker.

    If all Democrats were to eventually back a compromise bill, the legislation would reach the 60-vote threshold required to reverse potential blocking efforts and pass under regular Senate procedures.

    “He Probably to some extent the leftists of his own party will have difficulty selling on a deal that is motivated by an agreement with the Center.

    “He May just like to get through their ambitious policy and legislative agenda without them. If so, this is going to reduce the likelihood of bipartisan events down the road. “

    The president has shown signs of impatience as he argues for Biden to devote more time to the bipartisan negotiations as his party’s more liberal wing considers passing a relief package through the budget process.

    White House press secretary Jane Saki said the meeting was an opportunity for Biden to exchange ideas with Republicans and “did not have a platform for the president to make or accept the proposal”.

    Biden’s view is that the risks facing the Congress and his administration right now would be “too small” rather than “too big” as the COVID-19 relief law, Sockey told reporters at the White House.


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