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POLITICO/ Bernie Sanders: Dems will use reconciliation to pass Covid relief ‘as soon as we possibly can’
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said Sunday that Democrats would use a rare procedural tactic to pass major parts of a Covid-19 relief package if Republicans refuse to move on the measure.
Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" that Democrats will use the move -- known as reconciliation -- "as soon as we possibly can" to pass the package by 51 votes in the Senate, rather than 60, if Republicans don't move the legislation.
"What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months and months to go forward. We have got to act now," he said.
Republicans used the reconciliation process when they attempted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in 2017 in the Senate. The GOP successfully used the process months later to overhaul the country's tax code, which passed with just Republican votes.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday warned that Democrats were ready to use a rare Congressional process to push through President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
Sanders, the incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said on CNN that Dems will employ the move — known as reconciliation — “as soon as we possibly can,” if Republicans don’t back the bill.
“What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have to act now,” he said on “State of the Union.”
The procedural tactic would allow for the legislation to pass in the Senate with a simple majority of 50, plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, rather than the 60 votes normally required.
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said Senate Democrats would pass a Covid-19 relief bill as soon as possible through budget reconciliation, which would allow the package to pass with a simple majority vote rather than with the support of 60 senators.
“We are going to use reconciliation, that is 50 votes in the Senate plus the vice president, to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now,” the Vermont senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday. The new Senate stands on 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote when needed.
Bash pointed out that Sanders had previously criticized Republicans’ use of reconciliation, saying the process should not be used “to enact major changes in social policy.” But he defended the decision to use reconciliation now, stating that Americans’ need for stimulus aid is emergent, while Republicans in 2017 used reconciliation “to give tax breaks to billionaires.”
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended Senate Democrats’ possible use of “reconciliation” Sunday after criticizing Republicans for using it.
Sanders told CNN’s Dana Bash, during an appearance on “State of the Union” that “the devil is in the details.” He then proceeded to explain why reconciliation — a tool that was that allows the Senate to pass certain revenue, spending and budget matters with just a simple majority of 51 — was an acceptable alternative for Democrats in 2021 when he had opposed Republicans for using it just a few years earlier.