Relief Bill Faces Crucial Next Weeks In Divided Congress
Congressional lawmakers return to work after a recess with President Joe Biden's covid stimulus plan at the top of their agenda.
Dems Prepare For Party-Line House Vote On Biden's Pandemic Aid Bill
The House is on track to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package by the end of this week as Congress sprints to deliver aid to millions of Americans reeling from the pandemic and facing a jobless benefits cliff in mid-March. But House Democrats aren't expecting to get a single GOP vote for their aid package, which they're taking up with the procedural maneuver known as reconciliation in order to win Senate passage without the threat of a filibuster. The House Budget Committee will meet Monday afternoon to tee up the legislation for floor passage on Friday or Saturday, with Senate action as soon as the following week. (Emma, 2/21)
Big Factor In COVID Votes: Would Dems Sink First Biden Goal?
Democratic leaders have a potent dynamic on their side as Congress preps for its first votes on the party’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill: Would any Democrat dare cast the vote that scuttles new President Joe Biden’s leadoff initiative? Democrats’ wafer-thin 10-vote House majority leaves little room for defections in the face of solid Republican opposition, and they have none in a 50-50 Senate they control only with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. Internal Democratic disputes remain over issues like raising the minimum wage, how much aid to funnel to struggling state and local governments and whether to extend emergency unemployment benefits for an extra month. (Fram, 2/22)
House Conservatives Unveil Playbook On How They’ll Fight Back Against Democrats' $1.9T COVID Bill
The largest conservative caucus in the House is circulating a new playbook on how to fight back against President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill by exposing each of the ''liberal goodies" tucked inside the package. The Republican Study Committee (RSC) authored a three-page memo to conservatives to outline "all the left-wing items Democrats are hoping the public won’t find about." Fox News first obtained a copy of the fact sheet that is slated to be widely circulated Monday. (Schultz, 2/22)
'What Would They Have Me Cut?': Biden Urges Republicans To Vote For His Covid Relief Bill
President Joe Biden called on Republican lawmakers Friday to support his nearly $2 trillion Covid-19 relief plan, dismissing the argument from some critics that the proposal is too expensive. ... "Critics say that my plan is to big, that it costs $1.9 trillion," Biden said in a speech at Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing facility near Kalamazoo, Michigan."Let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What would they have me leave out? Should we not invest $20 billion to vaccinate the nation? Should we not invest $290 million to extend unemployment insurance for the 11 million Americans who are unemployed so they can get by?" (Egan, 2/19)
In other news from Capitol Hill —
Lawmakers Seek $25.2 Billion For Vaccine Equity As Part Of Budget Plan, Markey Says
Senator Edward Markey said Saturday that lawmakers are seeking $25.2 billion to address COVID-19 health disparities nationally and protect vulnerable populations hardest hit by the pandemic as part of President Biden’s stimulus package. The funding package was discussed during a nearly hour-long livestream discussion regarding efforts to ensure equity in vaccine distribution as people of color are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. That effort not only includes ongoing work to overcome skepticism of vaccines among some people of color, but to provide the funding and support for local, community-driven efforts to help people navigate the state’s phased vaccination rollout and help them secure appointments to get shots. (Hilliard, 2/20)
House Panels Underscore Vaccine Obstacles For Minority Groups
Two House committees chaired by senior Black Congress members held hearings on Friday to discuss the importance of equitable vaccine distribution and the obstacles that local and federal officials have had up to this point. (Johnson, 2/19)