The second-ranking Democrat in the US Senate and several committee chairs signed a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to include recurring stimulus payments to Americans in his Build Back Better package that will be released soon. The letter, which originally circulated in early March, also asks Biden to include automatic extensions of unemployment benefits that would be tied to the state of the economy.
It was signed by Senator Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who serves as the top deputy to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Durbin also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Three previously enrolled committee chairs – Ron Wyden from Finance, Sherrod Brown from Banking, and Bernie Sanders from Banking – were joined by Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow, Indian Affairs Chair Brian Schatz, Military Chair, Senator Jack Reed, and Homeland Security and Gary Peters, Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee. In all, 21 of the 50 Democrats in the Senate have already signed the letter. Biden is ready to reveal some details of his plan, which has been reported as a two-part plan with a focus on infrastructure in the first part, in a speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Capitol Hill Democrats have signaled that they are ready to again use a process called budget reconciliation to push for a Republican no-vote package if necessary. Republicans have said they support more funding for infrastructure, but fear Democrats will use the package as a “Trojan horse,” in the words of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for tax increases and unnecessary spending on climate change programs. . Greg Nasif, chief spokesman for Humanity Forward, a group that has lobbied for more generous cash assistance during the pandemic, said: “Too often when a crisis occurs, Congress responds quickly or responds appropriately. They rarely seem to do both. Automatic stabilizers will provide four months of substantial relief to all Americans in need and give Congress time to properly address a serious crisis. We thank these 21 senators for helping the United States move forward. ”