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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said Sunday on ABC’s This Week that there appears to be enough votes to pass a new round of Covid-19 relief using a process called reconciliation.
The process is used to pass budget matters in the US Senate and requires just a simple majority of 51 votes in support. Normally, a 60-vote super-majority is required to pass legislation. The Senate can pass one bill per year on spending, revenue and the federal debt limit using reconciliation. The tactic has been used by Republicans and Democrats in prior administrations.
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“All of us will have differences of opinions, this is a $1.9 trillion dollar bill,” said Sanders. “I have differences and concerns about this bill. But at the end of the day, we are going to support the President of the United States.”
Barring adjustments, the next round of stimulus would include a mean-based check of $1,400 for each person that qualifies. Unemployment benefits would also be extended at their current levels for months, with a target of September previously rumored. Additional benefits for small businesses, eviction protections, aid to food banks and Covid-19 relief would also reportedly be part of the package.
Billed as the American Rescue Plan, this latest package will be added to the $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill from March and in the $900 billion bill in December.
Republicans are asking Biden to be part of the framework construction on the package, but are requesting less in funding. Some reported estimates say the Republican package would come in at $500 billion to $600 billion.
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