Biden's $1.9T rescue signed, and now things get tougher
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – Tough as it was for Democrats, passing President Joe Biden’s sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package into law was the easy part. Biden’s signing of the American Rescue Plan on Thursday marks a milestone for his administration and for Democrats who have command of the House, Senate and White House for the first time in a decade. If Senate Republicans start blocking the legislation, Democrats are prepared to force them into long days and nights of dramatic floor filibusters, like the movie version in “Mr. The filibuster gives the minority enormous ability to halt action, and Senate Democrats used it plenty of times when they were out of power. Still, Biden's infrastructure package may be one bill that could win over Republican support.
Biden's $1.9T rescue signed, agenda now a slog in Congress
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – Tough as it was for Democrats, passing President Joe Biden’s sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package into law was the easy part. If Senate Republicans start blocking the legislation, Democrats are prepared to force them into long days and nights of dramatic floor filibusters, like the movie version in “Mr. The filibuster gives the minority enormous ability to halt action, and Senate Democrats used it plenty of times when they were out of power. Still, Biden's infrastructure package may be one bill that could win over Republican support. Doubting bipartisanship will emerge, there is growing support among Democratic senators to do away with the filibuster if Republicans use it to block Biden's bills.
'We can do big things,' Schumer says as Senate approves aid
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., leaves the chamber just after the Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Senate passage sets up final congressional approval by the House next week so lawmakers can send it to President Joe Biden for his signature. Ad“Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” Schumer told The Associated Press in an interview after the vote. The outcome “gives us optimism about doing more big things in the future — because it worked,” he said. He and Schumer spoke often as the Senate leader steered the pandemic aid to approval.
Manchin, key Senate swing vote, boosts West Virginia's hopes
Scott Applewhite, File)CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia has long proclaimed itself “Almost Heaven,” a nod to a song and soaring mountaintop vistas. But Manchin, who grew up in the mountain town of Farmington, has emerged as a key swing vote in a divided Senate. Not since Robert Byrd’s death in 2010 has a senator from West Virginia wielded this much influence. With his centrist instincts in such a red state, Manchin has occasionally been the subject of rumors he'll switch parties. “We're hoping Senator Manchin remembers that he represents some of the poorest people in this country,” Kerner said.
Democrats to 'act big' on $1.9T aid; GOP wants plan split
In this Jan. 27, 2021, photo, President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Democrats in the House and Senate are operating as though they know they are borrowed time. Schumer said he drew from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's advice to “act big” to weather the COVID-19 economic crisis. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a former White House budget director under George W. Bush, wants a deeper accounting of what funds remain from the $900 billion coronavirus aid package from December. “The risks of going too small dramatically outweigh the risks of going too big,” said Gene Sperling, a former director of the White House National Economic Council, who signed the letter.
Key departures signal agriculture shakeup for Capitol Hill
MINNEAPOLIS – The reelection defeat of U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson in Minnesota and some key retirements mean a shakeup is coming for the industry on Capitol Hill, with power likely to shift from the Midwest to the South and the coasts. Both the House and Senate agriculture committees will get new chairs, and there will be a new top Republican on the House panel. Fischbach plans to seek a seat on the Agriculture Committee, but she'll have to draw heavily on her legislative skills to have much of an influence as a freshman in the minority party. Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is the only one of the top four agriculture committee leaders returning in 2021. Neither Roberts nor Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas, the ranking Republican in the House committee, sought reelection.
Low-key Democrat tries to hang onto Senate seat in Michigan
Peters was the only non-incumbent Democrat to win a Senate election in 2014, when he prevailed easily despite the GOP’s successes nationally and in Michigan. All largely back both Biden and Peters, but a bigger percentage remain undecided in the Senate race, according to some polls. He said he ranks as one of the most bipartisan Senate Democrats and, despite being a freshman in the minority, has written and passed more of his bills than any other senator. Before winning promotion to the Senate, Peters was a congressman, lottery commissioner and state senator and served in the Navy Reserve. Stu Sandler, a consultant for James' campaign, said support for Peters is “soft all around.
House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown
The final agreement gives the administration continued immediate authority to dole out Agriculture Department subsidies in the run-up to Election Day. This is cash flow to mom and pop businesses all over rural America," said Texas Rep. Michael Conaway, top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. Trump announced a new $13 billion allotment of bailout funding at a political rally in Wisconsin last week. But the financial fix had been passed before, and other Democrats, including endangered House incumbents in states like Iowa and Minnesota, pressed for it. In the past, both Democrats and Republicans have sought to use government funding deadlines and must-past temporary funding bills as leverage to try to win concessions elsewhere on Washington's agenda.
At town hall, Biden blasts Trump's 'criminal' virus response
Biden faced a half-dozen questions about the coronavirus and a potential vaccine in the town hall from moderator Anderson Cooper and audience members. The town hall was the first time that Biden had faced live, unscripted questions from voters since winning the nomination. Trump participated in a town hall Tuesday in an auditorium in Philadelphia. Trump signaled he'd been watching the town hall before he took the stage for a rally in Misonee, Wisconsin, on Thursday night. “They’ve got cars ... it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”Trump's ABC town hall was held inside a half-empty auditorium, with attendees socially distanced and wearing masks.
US Sen. Stabenow urges USDA to extend food program waivers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not continue to provide food program waivers that have ensured students are fed while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic unless Congress acts, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan warned Tuesday. Some children get their only meals at school. Should Congress choose to go in this direction, USDA stands ready to provide technical assistance.The USDA did not return a request for further comment Tuesday. She said she hoped it was not coming from the Trump administrations push to put students back in schools for in-person instruction. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Negotiators report progress in coronavirus relief talks
But perhaps one half of Senate Republicans, mostly conservatives and those not facing difficult races this fall, are likely to oppose any deal. Prior talks had yielded little progress and Saturday's cautious optimism was a break from gloomy private assessments among GOP negotiators. Whatever unemployment aid negotiators agree on will be made retroactive but antiquated state systems are likely to take weeks to restore the benefits. The food stamp increases, many economists say, provide an immediate injection of demand into the economy in addition to combating growing poverty. Food aid was the first item Pelosi mentioned in a letter to fellow Democrats apprising them of the progress.
GOP tucks $8 billion for military weaponry in virus bill
The Republican measure includes billions for F-35 fighters, Apache helicopters and infantry carriers sought by Washingtons powerful defense lobby. The $8 billion weapons procurement package is part of a $29.4 billion defense portion of the GOP's $1 trillion coronavirus response measure, a White House-backed package released Monday. Providing that money now would help build headroom into the annual defense funding bill that Congress plans to write later this year. The weapons bazaar galled Democrats whose votes will be required to pass the bill amid widespread divisions inside the Senate GOP conference on the measure. It instead delivered informal requests to the powerful lawmakers like Shelby who sit atop the defense funding panel, aides say.