Biden is right to go big on COVID-19 relief

Friday, 05 Feb, 2021

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After the Senate voted on Tuesday by a 50-49 margin to move forward with a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, House Democrats on Wednesday were able to narrowly pass a non-binding resolution to signal its support.

While Democrats have been pitching $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals who made less than $75,000 in 2019 ($150,000 for couples filing jointly), the Washington Post reported that Democrats are now considering lowering the threshold to $50,000 for individuals ($100,000 for couples).

Biden sent an immigration reform bill to key lawmakers on his first day in office that would provide an eight-year pathway to citizenship for numerous estimated 11 million people living in the country unlawfully.

Commonly referred to as "vote-a-rama", the marathon amendment process that precedes final approval of a reconciliation resolution-the passage of which will the stage for construction of a coronavirus relief package-has always been used as a messaging vehicle by lawmakers eager to draw out tensions among their rivals on the other side of the aisle. Above those levels, the payments phased out gradually.

Some progressive Democrats are seeking even higher payments, arguing that to fulfill his promise to voters, Biden must increase the checks to $2,000 on top of the $600.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki reinforced that message from the White House podium on Tuesday, saying it "remains a unsafe trip" and, "This is not the time to come to the United States".

Karl asked Jean-Pierre if the White House was working on a policy addressing the Biden family and potential business dealings with the government, citing concerns about the president's brother touting his family name for business gain. Chris Coons and Tom Carper of Delaware.

"The refusal to continue building the border wall and changing Trump asylum policies requiring migrants to wait in Mexico for their court date are formulas for disaster and will create massive future runs on the border", he said.

But Coons emphasized that the president is "not going to forget the middle class".

The president met with Senate Democratic leaders in the oval office Wednesday.

The survey also polled Americans on what they think about Vice President Kamala Harris, with 45% saying her job has been favorable, 35% saying they disapprove of her work, and 18% saying it's too early in her term to determine. Biden issued a proclamation on January 20, his first day in office, ordering a freeze on border wall projects and directing a review of the legality of its funding and contracting methods.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader leader Mitch McConnell reached a two-year power-sharing deal, according to a person familiar with the agreement, formally giving Democrats committee chairmanships and setting other ground rules, allowing the chamber to begin fully functioning after weeks of procedural limbo. But if more than 35 percent of voters in their own party back Biden's bill, as the Quinnipiac poll suggests, every Republican in the Senate (none of whom support the current bill) are out of the mainstream.

For starters, control of the chamber was unknown until the twin January 5 Senate Georgia runoffs, in which Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ousted the GOP incumbents and produced the 50-50 split. The House is voting Wednesday on its version as well.

The process is a traditional response to the use of budget reconciliation, and is usually painful. But he said Democrats won't risk moving slowly or timidly to bolster the economy.