Sen. Sanders: Democrats Have the Votes to Pass New Relief Bill

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
January 31, 2021Updated: January 31, 2021

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Democrats now have the votes to pass another COVID-19 relief measure that could include stimulus checks.

“Yes, I believe that we do because it’s hard for me to imagine any Democrat, no matter what state he or she may come from, who doesn’t understand the need to go forward right now in an aggressive way to protect the working families of this country,” Sanders said after he was asked by an ABC News reporter about whether Democrats in the Senate have enough votes.

It came amid bipartisan pushback against passing the $1.9 trillion bill that was initially championed by President Joe Biden.

“Look, all of us will have differences of opinion. This is a $1.9 trillion bill. I have differences and concerns about this bill,” Sanders said. “But at the end of the day, we’re going to support the President of the United States, and we’re going to come forward, and we’re going to do what the American people overwhelmingly want us to do. The polling is overwhelming. Republicans, Democrats, independents,” the Vermont senator added.

There have been concerns by GOP senators that Democrats will attempt to use tactics to keep them out of the loop.

“Look, the American people really couldn’t care less about budget process, whether it’s regular order, bipartisanship, whether it’s filibuster, whether it’s reconciliation,” Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein told “Fox News Sunday,” adding that Americans “need relief and they need it now.”

On Sunday, and in a letter to Biden, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and seven other Republicans in the upper chamber said they would unveil on Monday their proposed legislation to address the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis.

“Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support,” the Republican group wrote in the letter, whose signatories also included Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has announced he will not seek re-election in 2022. In their letter, the group said they wished to “work in good faith” with the new administration.

They did not give an overall cost for the compromised bill, but said money from previous COVID-19 relief bill passed last year remained unspent.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, told CNN’s State of the Union program that the White House had seen the letter and would review it.

Reuters contributed to this report.