Schumer says "we'll have the votes" to pass COVID relief bill

Grant Boone
March 3, 2021

A provision raising the minimum wage was included in the initial relief bill, but the Senate parliamentarian ruled last week it could not be included under the "Byrd rule", which requires provisions included in a bill passed through reconciliation be budget-related. "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said on Mehdi Hasan's inaugural segment on MSNBC that they "should override the parliamentarian", asserting that "constituents and people across this country put Democrats in power" to raise the baseline wage.After a weekend of activity, Khanna sent a one-page letter with 22 Democrats early on Monday, including those involved in the text exchange and other top members like Ocasio-Cortez, to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris calling on them to "refute" MacDonough's recommendation.Khanna, a leading progressive who co-chaired Sanders" presidential campaign, has also been "in touch" with the White House over the issue.

Biden's bill passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last week but it's likely to encounter substantial resistance within the Senate.

Democrats are working to approve the bill, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, and get Biden to sign it into law before current federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14.

The legislation is Biden's biggest early legislative priority and looms as a test of his ability to unite congressional Democrats that could cause lasting damage to his clout should it fail. It now heads to the evenly divided Senate, where a vote is expected this week.

Senate Democrats may reshape the $350 billion the bill provides for state and local governments.

Biden himself did not take questions from senators when he called into their weekly lunch on Tuesday, instead using the opportunity to make the case for them to unite and pass the legislation.

Almost two dozen House Democrats - including Reps.

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But not moving now imperils the chances of their request being granted at all, because most legislation requires 60 votes to get through the Senate, a hard climb when Democrats, and the two independents who vote with them, hold just 50 seats.

This is the soul of the Democratic Party, he said of the proposal. That means the Senate must move quickly, something being urged by President Biden.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona had said they did not support including the $15 minimum wage in the $1.9 trillion relief package. Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough said the provision could not be included since the legislation was being considered under a procedure known as reconciliation, which prevents a filibuster and allows the bill to pass by majority vote. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Marie Newman (D-IL), Cori Bush (D-MO), and Mondaire Jones (D-NY) about how to effectively use the shared bargaining power of left-wing lawmakers to advance the wage goal with the White House."We all felt that something needed to be done", Khanna told The Daily Beast about the late-night strategy session. That is certain to be divisive and draw strong opposition from progressives.

"In terms of the $15 for corporations penalty, I'd be concerned there about those corporations then outsourcing that work to small enterprises that wouldn't [pay] a penalty", Mr. Warner said on "Fox News Sunday".

But Republicans have argued that this is an unnecessarily steep cost for schools that already received two rounds of coronavirus funding, especially considering the money isn't directly tied to schools reopening.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said he wants the bill's Dollars 350 billion for state and local governments to specify minimum amounts for municipal governments and wants perhaps Dollars 50 billion to improve broadband coverage. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee Chair Patty Murray will join Sanders in offering the amendment.

The Senate's number two Democrat, Dick Durbin, said lawmakers should look for another venue to raise the minimum wage, but that it will be a challenge.

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