Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took to Twitter recently with a reminder that not a single Republican chose to vote in favor of the third round of direct federal stimulus payments worth up to $1,400.
The American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that included the third round of direct stimulus payments, was passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives following a 220-211 vote. All House Republicans – as well as one Democratic representative – voted in opposition to the bill. The American Rescue Plan only managed to make it through the Senate after Democrats utilized an approach known as reconciliation to pass the bill; a straightforward vote would have seen the bill filibustered, which the Democrats would have been able to avoid only by watering down the bill enough to win support from at least ten Senate Republicans.
Even so, the process was not straightforward, with progressive Democrats forced to compromise on a number of issues in order to maintain support for the bill among their more moderate colleagues, including a measure aimed at increasing the federal minimum wage as well as lowering the increase to unemployment benefits from $400 down to $300.
In his tweet, Senator Sanders pointed out that no Republicans voted in favor of the $1,400 stimulus payments or the $3,000 child tax credit – a reference to the expanded credit that was also included in the American Rescue Plan – while highlighting that Senate Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan with a simple majority. “We must do the same with the American Jobs and Family plans,” the tweet goes on to say.
The American Family Plan and American Jobs Plan are the Biden administration’s $1.8 trillion and $2 trillion, respectively, tax and spending bills that have been presented to Congress. Much like the American Rescue Plan, the two bills will likely face the threat of a filibuster if Democrats in the Senate are unable to generate sufficient support from their Republican counterparts to prevent it.
Senator Sanders has previously called on Democrats to pass the bills without Republican support. Sanders has said that he does not agree with the Biden administration’s efforts to reach across the aisle and compromise with Republicans, instead saying that it is results that American families really care about.
The administration in recent weeks presented Republicans with a reduced $1.7 trillion version of its infrastructure plan, which Republicans have since rejected. Senate Republicans then came out with their own $1 trillion infrastructure proposal that was in turn dismissed by the White House.