SENATOR Bernie Sanders has vowed to pass the Covid stimulus bill costing $1.9 trillion with a Democrat ''reconciliation'' vote without GOP support.
Democrats are planning to provide a Covid-19 relief package via the special process that allows for a 51 majority vote, rather than the normal 60 votes needed to advance legislation.
Reconciliation provides a fast-track process to consider bills to implement the policy choices embodied in the annual congressional budget resolution.
Unlike other bills, reconciliation bills can’t be stalled by a filibuster and only need a simple majority in the Senate, instead of the usual 60-vote supermajority.
In the currently 50-50 divided senate, newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking 51st vote to give the Dems the majority.
Sanders, the incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said in an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, that unlike his Republican predecessors, Dems will "pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now."
Republicans have previously used reconciliation to pass tax cut bills and attempted to repeal Obamacare.
Sanders told CNN anchor Dana Bash: "If Republicans are willing to work with us to address that crisis, welcome – let’s do it. But what we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We’ve got to act now. That's what the American people want,"
"These are major policy changes, and I criticized Republicans for using reconciliation to give tax breaks to billions to create a situation where large profitable corporations now pay zero in federal income taxes. Yes, I did criticize them for that.
"And if they want to criticize me for helping to feed children who are hungry – or senior citizens who are isolated and alone and don’t have enough food, they can criticize me. I think it’s the appropriate step forward."
Sanders said that the Senate must break through the ‘’old approach’’, where decision making processes could take years.
Biden's COVID-19 proposal also includes a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, vaccine funding, money for schools and state and local governments.
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Democrats might be required to pick up GOP votes or compromise for a smaller package.
Talks around the stimulus package on Capitol Hill comes after the uncertainty over the timing of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
Trump was impeached by the House last week for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol but Ms Pelosi has yet to send the article to the Senate to trigger a trial.