Even though Joe Biden's party will be the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the next president of the US could still face a hard time getting his Covid relief bill passed. Could it still be approved?
Today Democrats will unveil Joe Biden’s aid proposal and make his case for it in a prime-time speech, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET.
According to CNBC, the president-elect is expected to push for more direct cash to Americans, state and local government relief, an extension of supplemental unemployment insurance, and Covid-19 vaccine distribution funds, among other measures in a plan that Biden has said could cost “trillions.”
But, even if Biden holds majorities in both chambers, these are the challenges he will face in trying to get a plan through Congress:
•Democrats will hold a slim majority in the House and could still need Republican support to pass a bill, especially if not all Democrats support it. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, for example, has expressed skepticism about $2,000 direct payments
•Biden’s party will control the Senate later this month, but will still need 10 GOP votes to approve legislation unless it opts to use a tool that requires a majority vote. GOP Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida have already said they will back the proposal.
•The Senate will also have to spend its limited time on the impeachment trial and confirming Biden’s Cabinet.
•While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and many in his party oppose state and local government relief, though multiple Senate Republicans have joined Democrats in supporting the aid.
Biden has said fighting the virus and boosting the economy will be his top priorities after he takes office on Jan. 20, and in a statement made on Wednesday, Biden said he hopes the Senate can juggle all of those responsibilities at the same time.
“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” he said after the House impeached Trump. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation,” he added.