Remember all that talk of bipartisan “unity” and countless promises by Democrat leaders that they would work together with Republicans in an attempt to help struggling Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to the Washington Examiner, that idea has seemingly gone to the wayside, as it was announced this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will reportedly use a budget reconciliation bill to pass the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” through Congress with a simple majority vote.
The budget reconciliation measure was just passed in the Senate with a 50-49 vote, which clears the path for Democratic leadership to give President Joe Biden his first big win in the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Within the massively expensive plan is language that will provide Americans with $1,400 stimulus checks. It will also extend unemployment with a $400-per-week enhancement, along with a sizeable portion of the bill set aside to be doled out to cities and towns who have lost tax revenue as a result of the pandemic and extended lockdowns.
The bill will also include language that will increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Only 51 votes will be required to pass the bill, with most Democrats firmly on board. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin could pose a roadblock for Senate Democrats, as he recently expressed frustration over the fact that Vice President Kamala Harris conducted a television interview in his state in which she promoted the new package, but failed to give him a heads up.
The move was criticized by Manchin — a self-described conservative Democrat — for not exactly following the “let’s work together” idea that the Biden administration touted recently.
Schumer made crystal clear this week that Democrats are using the method in order to avoid having to deal with Republicans who will undoubtedly try to negotiate a much cheaper relief package.
At roughly the same time, a bipartisan group of members of both chambers — the same Congresspeople who negotiated the last bill — are also working on a version of the bill that might be more palatable for both parties. Adding to that, a group of 10 Republicans recently met with Biden at the White House to discuss the matter, but Schumer was quick to dismiss their efforts.
“We share the president’s desire to advance this legislation in a bipartisan way,” Schumer said on Tuesday. “But the work must move forward. We are not going to dilute, dither, or delay because the needs of the American people are just too great.”
Pelosi’s and Schumer’s actions today definitely don’t appear to line up with their idea of “bipartisanship” and is likely a signal of what’s to come in the months and years ahead, sadly.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org