- The Senate voted Tuesday on a budget resolution that could speed coronavirus aid through Congress.
- No Republicans voted to advance the measure, which was introduced by the Democratic majority.
- The phrase “No Republicans” trended on Twitter after the vote.
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Senate Republicans issued a mass rebuke of President Joe Biden’s $US1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package on Tuesday night, with none voting to advance it.
In a strict party-line vote, all 50 Senate Democrats voted to advance a budget resolution to speed the aid package through Congress without Republican support. Forty-nine Republicans voted against the resolution. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was absent because of snow.
The phrase “No Republicans” was trending on Twitter after the vote.
“We are not going to dilute, dither, or delay,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote, adding: “We welcome cooperation. There is nothing about the process of a budget resolution or reconciliation, for that matter, that forecloses the possibility of bipartisanship.”
The package on the line includes a round of $US1,400 direct payments for most Americans, $US350 billion to state and local governments, an increase in federal jobless aid to $US400, and a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $US15, among other aid.
All four measures have proved to be sticking points between the two parties.
Republicans want the relief checks capped at $US1,000 and allocated only to people making less than $US50,000 a year. They say the money for state and local governments isn’t needed and didn’t include any local funding in their counteroffer. They want the current federal jobless aid to remain the same and continue through June. Biden’s plan would increase it and extend it through September. And while some Republicans support increasing the federal minimum wage, few wish it to be as high as $US15.
The bill also includes $US130 billion to reopen schools, a major expansion of the child tax credit, $US50 billion toward COVID-19 testing, and $US20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities, and tribes.
The budget-reconciliation process allows Democrats to pass the plan with only 51 votes, instead of the 60-vote supermajority usually required of bills.
Biden hosted Republicans on Monday to discuss the party’s $US618 billion counteroffer.
According to The New York Times, some Republican senators considered Biden more receptive to compromise than his staff or Schumer during the meeting, though Biden has signalled that $US600 billion is too little.
“They have chosen a totally partisan path,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Times about Senate Democrats.
Senate Democrats could approve the resolution as soon as Friday.
According to Roll Call, the House will vote on its nearly identical measure Wednesday and then will have to vote again on final adoption of the joint measure after the Senate makes additions.