Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Sunday that Democrats must act on a coronavirus stimulus package quickly or risk losing the House and Senate in 2022.
Sanders, the incoming head of the Senate Budget Committee, told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that if Republicans drag their feet, Democrats should use a special process known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority (50 Democrats plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote) to pass President Biden’s stimulus package. Under normal rules, at least 10 Republicans would have to approve for the bill to pass.
According to Sanders, reconciliation is the “appropriate step forward” for Democrats to help the American people with a third round of stimulus checks, rental relief, student loan relief, a $15 minimum wage increase, and other actions.
“If [Democrats] do not respond now,” Sanders said. “I believe two years from now Republicans will say, ‘hey, you elected these guys, they did nothing, vote for us.’ And they will win.”
President Joe Biden said he would rather work with the Republicans as opposed to reconciliation, but he may have no choice. Although a small group of Republicans has pledged to work with Biden, others including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have expressed their opposition.
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told MSNBC Friday that the Biden administration would prefer to work with Republicans on the stimulus package. However, if they are unwilling or unreasonable there are multiple other ways to get a package passed.
Republicans have been unwilling to give Americans the funding they need to survive the pandemic. Some developed countries are literally paying their residents up to 70% of their salary to stay home in order to overcome the virus.
Meanwhile in America, Republican politicians have been so unwilling to give Americans help, Texas Lt. Gov. said last spring that grandparents were willing to die to get the economy moving again as opposed to the government helping its citizens.
Republicans were also upset that the first stimulus package, which included a $1,200 stimulus check and a $600 federal unemployment benefit was keeping too many Americans from working during the pandemic.