Biden Seeks to Go Big, Fast and Alone on COVID Relief, Cynthia Lummis Responds
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has laid out his for moving fast and without Republicans, if necessary, to pass $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief, armed with new signs of economic strain brought on by the continuing pandemic.
The stakes for the county and economy were amplified on Friday morning, shortly after Senate Democrats cast a decisive vote to muscle the plan through the chamber without Republican support.
January’s jobs report showed that hiring had stalled to a pace that could hinder a return to full employment for several years—with 406,000 people choosing to leave the labor force as deaths from the pandemic surged.
The Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday morning, which is a key step toward the fast-track passage of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. The move was not met with support from Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris was in the chair to cast the tie-breaking, deciding vote. It was her first.
While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called passage of the resolution "the first big step to putting our country back on the road to recovery," Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming had a different perspective.
She criticized the president and the Senate Democrats following their vote, and had the following to say:
“Only weeks after Democrats and Republicans came together for the fifth time in less than a year to pass bipartisan coronavirus relief legislation, ‘Unity’ President Joe Biden chose the partisan path. Even after an Oval Office meeting with Republican senators, President Biden pushed forward with a legislative plan to ignore Republicans and ram a progressive wishlist through the Senate.
"With $4 trillion previously allocated and billions in relief left unspent, Joe Biden could pause to assess the situation, and work with Republicans to send targeted relief where it’s needed. Instead, the ‘unity’ president and Democrats in the Senate are choosing division and partisanship. Families, businesses and communities in Wyoming deserve better.”
No reason was given as to why Lummis nicknamed President Biden, 'Unity.'
A press release from Senator Lummis' office alleged that, "Instead of using the normal bipartisan Senate process to pass a bill, President Biden and Senate Democrats used their razor-thin majority to pass a budget resolution under the Congressional Budget Act to set spending levels for the federal government over the coming decade. Passage of a budget resolution is the only procedural way for Senate Democrats to pass a coronavirus bill in the coming weeks without negotiating with Republicans."
A possible reason for the Democrats' swift vote is because, according to the Associated Press, their goal is to have COVID relief approved by March, when the previous extra unemployment assistance an other pandemic aid relief expires.
President Biden, for his part, will be speaking with House committee chairs in the White House on Friday, where they will be assembling the bill under the budget process known as "reconciliation."