Washington — Some Republican senators have expressed issues concerning the $1.9 trillion price tag on President Biden’s proposal for a new coronavirus aid bill, as congressional Democrats take into account pursuing a process to move the laws with none Republican votes.

Congress handed a $900 billion aid bill late final month, however Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats have argued extra motion is critical to stabilize the financial system. Republicans have famous that not all the funds offered by that act have been distributed.

“The administration sent up a proposal of $1.9 trillion, weeks after we just passed $900 billion that hasn’t been accounted for yet,” GOP Senator Rob Portman advised reporters on Tuesday. He argued that some provisions in Mr. Biden’s bill, corresponding to elevating the minimal wage to $15 per hour and offering funds for cybersecurity, have been unrelated to the pandemic.

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, speaks to members of the media whereas strolling via the Senate Subway at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg through Getty Images


Democrats have the narrowest attainable majority within the House with 50 seats, and Vice President Kamala Harris casting any tie-breaking vote. Most laws requires 60 votes so as finish debate and arrange a full vote on the Senate ground. This signifies that Democrats might want to garner assist from 10 Republicans, except they select to make use of a technique of passing laws often known as finances reconciliation, which solely requires a easy majority vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mentioned on Tuesday that he advised fellow Democrats they need to be ready to vote on a finances decision as early as subsequent week, which might be step one in starting the finances reconciliation course of.

“Our caucus is united in that we need big bold change,” Schumer advised reporters. However, he mentioned “we’re always hopeful that [Republicans will] see the light,” and famous that Republicans may vote in favor of the proposal even when they do go ahead with finances reconciliation.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, mentioned that Democrats have been already engaged on writing laws for finances reconciliation.

“We’re working on it right now,” Sanders mentioned. “I think there is a consensus. If Republicans are not prepared to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not going to wait. We’re going forward soon and aggressively.”

Republican Senator Todd Young advised reporters Monday he doesn’t suppose there can be a bipartisan COVID deal except “there is significant movement by the administration.” Mr. Biden has promised to work with Republicans, and Portman mentioned on Tuesday that it might be a “big mistake” for Democrats to make use of finances reconciliation slightly than try to barter with Republicans to craft bipartisan laws. 

“I think really it’s going to be the White House and the Democrats’ call as to whether they want to work with a bipartisan team to improve the legislation or whether they want to push through a reconciliation, a bill which came with only one party participating,” Republican Senator Mitt Romney advised reporters on Tuesday.

A bipartisan group of 16 senators spoke with Biden administration officers on Sunday to debate coronavirus laws. The one hour and 15 minute name was arrange by average Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Although some contributors referred to as the assembly “productive” and a great first step, Republican Senator Susan Collins, who attended the assembly, referred to as it “premature” to be discussing legislative motion of this dimension and scope. She mentioned she could be suggesting a extra “targeted” package deal, particularly specializing in vaccine distribution.

Collins mentioned she acquired extra details about the proposal from the White House on Monday, however nonetheless wanted additional particulars.

“The administration is sending and has sent us some data to give us further details on the specifics of its package. We just got that and are starting to go through it. So, that’s a good step, but there’s still not been an answer to the question of the money that still is yet to be allocated,” Collins advised reporters on Tuesday.

Democrats nonetheless have not dominated out utilizing finances reconciliation to move coronavirus aid. Lawmakers “have to get it done,” Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar mentioned on Tuesday.

“I will not let America’s unemployed folks at a time when the numbers are spiking be pushed off an economic cliff,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden advised reporters on Monday.

Jack Turman contributed reporting.