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Covid Relief Bill Passage Likely To Test Resolve On Both Sides

President Joe Biden and Democrats have a tough job on their hands with Republicans taking a strong anti-relief bill position. The President has called for unity within the ranks to counter any proposed amendments overturning the provisions in the upcoming vote-a-Rama, which would likely be challenging both politically and physically, CNN reported.

Covid Relief Bill Passage Likely To Test Resolve On Both Sides

Republicans would likely push for a more focused bill which will likely find favor with some Democratic moderates who had made their position known earlier. They would also push for dropping certain specific and controversial provisions in the relief bill. A case in point was the California and New York transit projects that a section of Republicans and a number of Democrats, too, had slammed as not related to Covid relief. The projects were dropped from the bill on Tuesday.

Covid Relief Bill Passage Likely To Test Resolve On Both Sides

According to CNN, which quoted several GOP members, Republicans would follow a two-pronged strategy: try to rope in Democrats over some amendment votes to show up the differences across Democratic ranks and snag some political ads opportunities. The same strategy had been deployed in February for the bill vote-a-Rama in the initial stages.

According to Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn, it was about TV commercials. He added it was about making people accountable for their votes, and not much could be done if Democrats wanted to stay together and Republicans could do little for changing the outcome. He added, it was really about what Democrats wanted to do; they could probably see it through. 

The last vote-a-rama was different as amendment votes had no legal power, but the upcoming vote-a-rama would offer a real opportunity for changing the underlying bill. The passage of any amendment needed only 51 votes, but at the conclusion of the process, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could push through the final amendment that would override the amendments to keep the original bill intact. He did it the last time to retain the bill in the original form. Nevertheless, Schumer had called on Democrats privately to vote down amendments pushed by Republicans to keep the caucus united.

According to Senator Deb Fisher, a Nebraska Republican, he hoped that they could amend the bill to improve it, but he hoped at the same time that another substitute amendment would not come up that totally undid what the Senate had agreed on.

In a private call, Biden urged Senate Democrats on Tuesday to stand united. But according to commentators, the Democrats would have tough issues to grapple with, with the amendments that would come up over the next two days. A number of amendments had passed with the support of Democrats earlier. These included one that allowed pushing ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline construction. Another amendment that received Democratic support was blocking stimulus payments for high-end earners. Furthermore, eight Democrats voted in favor of an amendment that could have seen illegal immigrants banned from receiving illegal stimulus checks.

According to one Republican senator who spoke to CNN, the campaign’s best ads were about how politicians were for something before they were opposed to it. 

But there were internal divisions in Democratic ranks, too, over an amendment proposed by one on their side. Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, had planned an amendment for hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While Schumer had urged democrats to vote against every amendment brought by Republicans in the vote-a-rama, according to many Democrats, the amendment proposed by Sanders ran counter to the unity spirit in the caucus, which was the cause of considerable heartburn. 

President Joe Biden and Democrats have a tough job on their hands with Republicans taking a strong anti-relief bill position. The President has called for unity within the ranks to counter any proposed amendments overturning the provisions in the upcoming vote-a-rama, which would likely be challenging both politically and physically, CNN reported.

Republicans would likely push for a more focused bill which will likely find favor with some Democratic moderates who had made their position known earlier. They would also push for dropping certain specific and controversial provisions in the relief bill. A case in point was the California and New York transit projects that a section of Republicans and a number of Democrats, too, had slammed as not related to Covid relief. The projects were dropped from the bill on Tuesday.

According to CNN, which quoted several GOP members, Republicans would follow a two-pronged strategy: try to rope in Democrats over some amendment votes to show up the differences across Democratic ranks and snag some political ads opportunities. The same strategy had been deployed in February for the bill vote-a-rama in the initial stages.

According to Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn, it was about TV commercials. He added it was about making people accountable for their votes, and not much could be done if Democrats wanted to stay together and Republicans could do little for changing the outcome. He added, it was really about what Democrats wanted to do; they could probably see it through. 

The last vote-a-rama was different as amendment votes had no legal power, but the upcoming vote-a-rama would offer a real opportunity for changing the underlying bill. The passage of any amendment needed only 51 votes, but at the conclusion of the process, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could push through the final amendment that would override the amendments to keep the original bill intact. He did it the last time to retain the bill in the original form. Nevertheless, Schumer had called on Democrats privately to vote down amendments pushed by Republicans to keep the caucus united.

According to Senator Deb Fisher, a Nebraska Republican, he hoped that they could amend the bill to improve it, but he hoped at the same time that another substitute amendment would not come up that totally undid what the Senate had agreed on.

In a private call, Biden urged Senate Democrats on Tuesday to stand united. But according to commentators, the Democrats would have tough issues to grapple with, with the amendments that would come up over the next two days. A number of amendments had passed with the support of Democrats earlier. These included one that allowed pushing ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline construction. Another amendment that received Democratic support was blocking stimulus payments for high-end earners. Furthermore, eight Democrats voted in favor of an amendment that could have seen illegal immigrants banned from receiving illegal stimulus checks.

According to one Republican senator who spoke to CNN, the campaign’s best ads were about how politicians were for something before they were opposed to it. 

But there were internal divisions in Democratic ranks, too, over an amendment proposed by one on their side. Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, had planned an amendment for hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While Schumer had urged Democrats to vote against every amendment brought by Republicans in the vote-a-Rama, according to many Democrats, the amendment proposed by Sanders ran counter to the unity spirit in the caucus, which was the cause of considerable heartburn. 

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