Sanders: Stimulus Checks Mean the Difference Between ‘Desperation and Dignity’

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    Senate Democrats face a gauntlet of Republican attempts to rein in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package in a marathon session of votes that will extend the timetable for passage into the weekend.

    Democratic leaders plan to rough it through the amendment process and emerge with a bill that gets the votes of all 50 Democrats without risking a revolt from progressives in the House, which will have to agree on the Senate version before it goes to Biden for his signature.

    The Senate bill stripped one prize from progressives: the House-passed provision phasing in a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more than double the $7.25 of today. The Senate parliamentarian ruled last week that the provision violates fast-track budget rules allowing the bill to pass with a simple majority, and efforts to overturn or bypass that ruling failed. Also excised were some smaller provisions, like money for a tunnel in California, that Republicans had lampooned as unrelated to the pandemic.

    Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders said he plans to force an amendment vote on a $15 minimum wage to put lawmakers on record. Democrats are also considering other ways to try and raise wages later in the year, including on a second reconciliation package.

    Under budget rules, however, amendments like that require 60 votes.

    Republicans, meanwhile, have for weeks complained the package spends too much, risking inflation, and isn’t targeted closely enough regarding health care costs related to Covid-19 or on people and businesses that are suffering the most.

    “It is a wildly out of proportion response to where the country is at the moment. The vaccines are going out, the economies are opening up,” McConnell said. “We think having a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War II already doesn’t argue for adding $2 trillion more when the country is clearly on the way back.”

    Under special budget rules, Republicans can offer virtually unlimited amendments many of which will be designed to put Democrats on the spot politically.

    Rick Scott of Florida, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he’s readying a slew of amendments.

    “It’s going to be a long night,” he said.

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    In This Story: Bernie Sanders

    Bernard Sanders is an American politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007 and as U.S. Representative for the state’s at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007. He is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, although he has a close relationship with the Democratic Party, having caucused with House and Senate Democrats for most of his congressional career.

    Sanders unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020, finishing in second place in both campaigns.

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    The Republican Party, sometimes also referred to as the GOP (Grand Old Party), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main, historic rival, the Democratic Party.

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