House voting on $1.9T COVID plan — with or without GOP support

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People wait in line to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at a pop-up community vaccination center at the Gateway World Christian Center in Valley Stream, New York, on February 23, 2021.

House Democrats will move forward with a vote Friday on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, regardless of if they are able to sway any Republicans between then and now.

In a tweet sent Tuesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the body would vote at the end of the week on the legislation, saying, “The American people strongly support this bill, and we are moving swiftly to see it enacted into law.”

Democrats are aiming to get the bill to Biden’s desk by March 14, when a litany of federal programs are set to expire.

As a result, the bill has next-to-no chance at securing any Republican support.

Speaking to ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Tuesday evening, Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that was something the party would live with if the bill was pushed through.

People wait in line to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at a pop-up community vaccination center at the Gateway World Christian Center in Valley Stream, New York, on Feb. 23, 2021.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

“We are reaching out to Republicans and saying, look, if you want to rebuild our infrastructure, come on aboard. You want to lower the cost of prescription drugs, you want to provide health care to all people, you want to raise minimum wage in this country? We’d love to have you,” Sanders began.

“But if you are not prepared to come on board, we’re going to go forward and do it alone,” he continued, “We’ve got 50 votes plus the vice president. We can do it in the Senate, we’ve got the votes in the House. That’s what we intend to do.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with House Democratic leaders, including  (L-R) Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-WA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) and other committee chairs to discuss the coronavirus relief legislation on Feb. 5, 2021.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with House Democratic leaders, including (from left) Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Wash.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) and other committee chairs to discuss the coronavirus relief legislation on Feb. 5, 2021.
Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

In his capacity as budget chairman, Sanders has led the charge on the progressive wing to keep the $15 minimum wage hike in the bill despite objections from Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

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Manchin, one of the most influential senators as a moderate in a tightly divided body, does not back a $15 federal minimum wage.

Members of Congress ttend an event held to observe a moment of silence to honor the 500,000 people in the United States that have died of COVID-19 on Feb. 23, 2021.
Members of Congress attend an event held to observe a moment of silence to honor the 500,000 people in the United States that have died of COVID-19 on Feb. 23, 2021.
EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

President Biden has said that while he would like for the $15 wage hike to be included, it was certainly up for negotiation in order to secure broader support.

Whether it ends up being included will come down to the Senate parliamentarian, who will decide if a federal wage hike could be included in budget reconciliation.

Pharmacists fill syringes with doses of the Pfizer company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Pharmacists fill syringes with doses of the Pfizer company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Republicans, meanwhile, have decried the legislation for including Democratic wish-list items, frequently bringing up the minimum wage as an example.

In a three-page memo released Monday, the Republican Study Committee argued that Democrats in the House were hiding “liberal goodies” in the package.

The memo was distributed to lawmakers and urges them to highlight “all the left-wing items Democrats are hoping the public won’t find about.” 

President Joe Biden signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 2, 2021.
President Joe Biden signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 2, 2021.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

Rep. Jim Banks, the chairman of the RSC, said taxpayers need to be informed about what’s contained in the stimulus ​bill​.

“The RSC is leading conservatives inside and outside the Beltway in opposition to this so-called ‘relief package.’ The more we learn about it, the worse it sounds,” Banks​ (R-Ind.)​ told Fox News.

“That’s why we’ve put together a fact sheet to educate Americans exactly how their taxpayer dollars are being spent by Democrats,” he said.



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