President-elect Joe Biden said he will attempt to work with Republicans on the next coronavirus relief package rather than push a package through.
According to people familiar with the situation, the idea is to bypass using a special budget process that would remove the need to get the support of at least 10 Republicans to give a 50-50 split and make Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.
Bloomberg reported the Biden transition team briefed congressional Democratic aides about his plan to work with the GOP Tuesday. Last week, the President-elect discussed a multitrillion-dollar relief package that could merge the stimulus package with an infrastructure package.
“We need to provide more immediate relief for families and businesses now,” Biden told reporters last week. The $900 billion stimulus package Congress passed last month Biden considered a “down payment” on a larger package.
The former vice president may run into some trouble when it comes to getting Republicans on his side. For starters, the GOP has indicated in both rounds of stimulus package negotiations that its members do not want to add to the country’s debt. Nor do they want to give Americans enough relief that they can say home, something that runs counterproductive to actually stopping the coronavirus.
Mitch McConnell (KY), who is still Senate Majority Leader (for now), also fought tooth and nail against large stimulus checks, even after President Donald Trump endorsed them. Although he’ll be the Senate Minority Leader in a few weeks, McConnell will still have a large voice in the GOP, especially with Trump out of office.
Translation: if he’s still against a large stimulus package, he could convince Republican lawmakers to oppose it as well, even if it means that their constituents suffer.
As reported by Bloomberg, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said his top priority after his caucus takes control is emergency coronavirus relief legislation. Schumer’s plan includes $2,000 direct payments and support for vaccine distribution, small businesses, families, schools, and state and local governments. Unemployment aid, which is due to expire in March, will also be on Schumer’s agenda.