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Wed Jan 13, 2021, 02:21 PM

Biden, Democrats, plot 'aggressive' pandemic response -- without the GOP

Biden, Democrats, plot 'aggressive' pandemic response — without the GOP
Key Senate Democrats are gaming out plans to pass a massive stimulus package without Republican votes.
01/12/2021 08:00 PM EST

President-elect Joe Biden has spent months pledging to work with Republicans to advance his agenda. But Senate Democrats are now gearing up to pass Biden’s first major legislative package without them.

Key Senate offices are coalescing around a plan to pass another round of coronavirus legislation soon after Biden takes office using a process called reconciliation, which would allow them to move forward without any Republican support, five Senate aides tell POLITICO.

The package, which Biden said late last week will be “in the trillions of dollars,” is expected to provide direct relief to Americans through stimulus checks and give federal funding to help cash-strapped state, local and tribal governments distribute a vaccine and survive the most dire phase of the pandemic to date. But, freed of the need to compromise with Republicans, Democrats are also discussing including other priorities, including investing in infrastructure, moving to sustainable forms of energy and potentially even expanding Obamacare subsidies.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who will be a key figure for Biden in crafting reconciliation legislation as the new head of the Senate Budget Committee, pledged on Tuesday to use the powerful procedure to address the immediate health and economic crisis at hand.

“As we speak, my staff and I are working, we’re working with Biden’s people, we’re working with Democratic leadership, we’ll be working with my colleagues in the House to figure out how we can come up with the most aggressive reconciliation bill to address the suffering of the American working families today,” Sanders said in an interview.



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