Schumer: Democrats are prepared to pass Biden's coronavirus relief package without GOP support

Economy is ‘struggling’ from coronavirus pandemic and needs ‘more help’: Zandi

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package President Biden has proposed is ‘a good step.’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that Democrats are prepared to pass President Biden’s massive coronavirus relief package without GOP support if Republicans don’t recognize that “big” action is needed.

Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will begin considering a “very strong COVID relief bill” as soon as next week with or without Republicans on board.

“Our preference is to make this important work bipartisan — to include input, ideas and revisions from our Republican colleagues or bipartisan efforts to do the same,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday morning. “But if our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them.”

Legislation in the Senate typically takes 60 votes to advance, but Schumer and incoming Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are proposing using a process called budget reconciliation that would allow the package to pass with a simple majority vote rather than bipartisanship.

The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking 51st vote.

Schumer pointed to new “sobering” economic reports on the weakening pace of the economic recovery from the Federal Reserve, high jobless claims and news Thursday that the U.S. economy shrunk by 3.5 percent last year — making 2020 the worst year for economic growth since 1946.


“Given these economic numbers, the need to act big and bold is urgent,” Schumer said.

He said there’s a greater risk in going too small, rather than too big. Congress must not repeat the “mistake” from 2009 when lawmakers were “too timid” in responding to the global financial crisis, which prolonged the recession, Schumer said.

“We have a responsibility to help the American people fast, particularly given these new economic numbers,” Schumer said. “The Senate will begin that work next week.”

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