- Senate Democrats are beginning to lay out their legislative priorities as the party barrels toward a likely impeachment of Trump.
- Chuck Schumer wrote in a letter that the “first order of legislative business” is another federal rescue package that includes vaccine funds and aid for state and local governments among others.
- “We will get that done,” he said of $US2,000 stimulus checks.
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Senate Democrats are beginning to lay out their legislative agenda for the year as the party barrels toward a second impeachment of President Donald Trump in the final days of his term.
“The nation is facing unprecedented challenges: the greatest economic crisis in seventy-five years, the greatest public health crisis in a century, the climate crisis, and worsening income inequality and racial injustice,” the incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York wrote in a letter to colleagues.
Schumer said Senate Democrats and their counterparts in the House are “committed to delivering the bold change our country demands, and the help that our people need.”
He described another pandemic aid package as their “first order of legislative business,” adding it would include assistance for vaccine distribution, small businesses, schools, and state and local governments.
He vowed Democrats would also fulfil their pledge to send a round of $US2,000 stimulus checks for Americans. “We will get that done,” he said.
The letter comes as Democrats are expected to impeach Trump a second time after he instigated a deadly riot at the Capitol which left five people dead last week. The president rejected fierce criticism on Tuesday, saying his speech before his supporters stormed the halls of Congress was “totally appropriate.”
But concern is rising among some Democrats that a Senate impeachment trial may hobble their ability to carry out Biden’s legislative agenda which includes another large economic rescue package. The president-elect suggested on Monday the Senate could split their days between impeachment proceedings and other priorities such as coronavirus relief.
But it’s unclear whether the procedural rules governing the chamber allow it and how well it would work in practive. Biden said he is consulting with the Senate parliamentarian and Democrats have not yet decided when to hold the trial.
Schumer is facing enormous pressure from Democrats to strike a balance between punishing Trump’s conduct and enacting Biden’s early economic priorities.
“We’re going to have to do several things at once but we got to move the agenda as well,” the New York senator told the Buffalo News in an interview published Monday. “Yes, we’ve got to do both.”
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Biden will seek to marshal GOP support for the relief package instead of relying on a legislative manoeuvre that would allow him to pass it with only Democratic votes.
The House approved $US2,000 direct payments in late December to take advantage of a last-minute push from Trump, but the proposal was dismissed in the GOP-held Senate. The $US900 billion economic rescue package included $US600 stimulus checks among other measures.
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