Senate to vote on budget resolution, readies Democrats' COVID package

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Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said his chamber will vote Tuesday to begin debating a budget resolution, taking the first steps toward cutting out Republican input on a final COVID relief package.

He said they will not “dilute” or “delay” a rescue bill over GOP objections, pointing to shuttered schools and continued high unemployment claims as evidence of an immediate need.

“Time is a luxury our country does not have,” the New York Democrat said. “It’s time to meet the challenges of the moment with boldness with courage and with urgency.”

House Democrats have also announced their first vote for Tuesday evening on the rules for debating a budget resolution.

Mr. Schmer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed their 2021 budget plan on Monday. It is the first step in a process that could allow them to pass President Joseph R. Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill without any Republican support.

The two leaders want to have a final vote on the budget by the end of this week, before the Senate gets bogged down in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

Democrats’ plan calls for another round of stimulus checks, another round of unemployment benefits and $350 billion in bailout money for state and local governments who say they face their own budget squeeze.

Using the budget process allows Democrats to circumvent a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

This week’s moves are just the beginning. If the budget passes both chambers, congressional committees then must write bills to carry out the plan. Those committee bills are then stitched together in what’s known as a reconciliation package, which must then pass Congress and be signed by the president.

Mr. Schumer insisted there’s still a window for Republicans to cooperate, but GOP lawmakers this week said using the budget process would send the wrong signal.

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