Even after failing to win the vote of a single House or Senate Republican on their cornerstone legislation, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to continue their outreach to Republican lawmakers.
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 03: U.S. President Joe Biden (C) and Vice President Kamala Harris meet … [+]
The Senate on Saturday passed the bill with a 50-49 vote purely along partisan lines, with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and other GOP lawmakers perceived as moderate voting against it.
Collins, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and other Republicans who met with Biden in the Oval Office early last month had complained about a lack of outreach from Biden since, and Collins alleged in a statement after the vote that Democratic leaders had “no interest” in negotiations.
But Biden said in remarks following the vote that “I still haven’t given up” on gaining Republican support for his proposals after making bipartisan governance a key campaign pledge.
Biden noted there was “a lot of pressure” on Republican senators and said there were “a lot of Republicans who came very close,” while pointing to opinion polls as evidence the plan is bipartisan.
Schumer said at a press conference following the vote that he believes Saturday’s developments will make bipartisanship “more likely” because it underscores that Democrats are serious about, and “capable” of, passing legislation with or without Republicans.
62%. That’s the share of Americans who said they support the relief package in a Monmouth poll released Wednesday, including 56% of independents and 33% of Republicans. However, 48% said the bill should be cut down in size in order to pass on a bipartisan basis, while 45% said it should pass as-is even if it opposed by all senators in one party.
Democrats were able to pass the relief bill without support through a process called budget reconciliation, which allows legislation structured as a budget bill to pass the Senate with a simple majority. That means Democrats, with their one-vote majority, were able to get the bill through without the need for 10 Republican votes to avoid a filibuster.
Democrats concede they will struggle to replicate their stimulus success when it comes to passing other types of legislation. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a member of Democratic leadership, noted there are “some really important, fundamental things, like voting rights… that can’t be done through reconciliation,” and said Democrats will need to have a “discussion” about the filibuster.
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I am a news reporter covering politics and the Biden transition. I have previously worked for MSNBC and Chronogram Magazine. I attended Vassar College and the London