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Dems to GOP: Take it or leave it

   January 29, 2021 7:57 AM
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by OLIVIA BEAVERS

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POLITICS Covid relief
 
Democrats have a simple message for Senate Republicans: get on board with our Covid relief plan, or stand back. One way or another, they say, they're moving forward with passing a massive coronavirus package.

But their decision to move full speed ahead comes as moderates from both parties are calling on them to slow their roll and instead seek a bipartisan agreement, which they argue is possible despite Republicans already rejecting President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid proposal.

Here is the state of play of the next coronavirus aid package.

GOP WHO? Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in separate press conferences Thursday that they could begin moving towards the reconciliation process as soon as next week.

In other words, Democrats would skip around securing GOP support.

"The Senate, as early as next week, will begin the process of considering a very strong Covid relief bill," Schumer said, noting a preference to reach a bipartisan agreement with the GOP. "But if our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them."

NOT SENATE-IN-STONE: The plan to turn to bypass Republicans using the reconciliation process is not locked in just yet.

Senate Democrats and Biden officials, who hopped on a call Thursday to talk about their next steps, have not made a final decision about their next steps and whether they will ditch the GOP or keep seeking their support, sources tell Heather and Burgess.

MODERATE MODERATORS: Moderates, meanwhile, are urging negotiations to continue as the parties seek to iron out large differences on the cost and scope of the next Covid bill.

Biden is involved. My colleagues also report that he is working to recruit moderate Republicans to join their Covid push, like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. And a bipartisan group of senators continue to meet and hold discussions about the coronavirus legislation.

But Dem leaders appear skeptical and increasingly dismissive about holding out for a deal, with Pelosi insisting they can't wait much longer. (Flashback to the last $900 billion coronavirus relief package, which took months of negotiations to break through the gridlock...)

And there are also signs Democrats are not willing to bend much on their big Covid bill, with Schumer calling for "only big bold action" to respond to the crisis and dismissing the possibility of "dramatically" cutting up Bidens $1.9 trillion dollar package.

Heather and Burgess with much more: http://politi.co/3otFO94 and Burgess, Marianne and Laura Barrón-López with the big picture on how this will impact GOP relations: https://politi.co/3j9uvlv

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