White House refuses to split $1.9T COVID-19 relief package into smaller bills
UPDATED 9:07 AM PT – Friday, January 29, 2021
The White House press secretary responded to backlash after Senate Democrats threatened to pass the coronavirus relief package through a simple majority in each chamber. While speaking at a briefing Thursday, Jen Psaki claimed the process of budget reconciliation would still be bipartisan.
This process would limit debate to 20-hours and would not allow for filibuster on the Senate floor. Therefore, the bill would not need the support from 10 Republicans to pass just a simple majority.
“Regardless of the mechanisms, Republicans can still vote on a package even if it goes through reconciliation,” Psaki stated. “There’s no blood oath anybody signs, they’re able to support it regardless.”
The suggestion was met with sharp criticism from Republicans who said it signals Joe Biden is trying to sideline them from relief discussions despite numerous claims to bipartisanship.
The needs of the American people are urgent from putting food on the table, to getting vaccines out the door to reopening schools. Those aren’t partisan issues. We are engaging with a range of voices—that’s democracy in action—we aren’t looking to split a package in two.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 28, 2021
However, Senate Democrats warn they will begin the process of passing this package next week with or without Republican support.