Biden having trouble selling his Covid relief bill

 Washington Examiner:

In dispatching Vice President Kamala Harris via Zoom to two key states this week to sell President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, the White House’s message was clear: We’re the government, and we need your help.

Harris’s media campaign in West Virginia and Arizona targets two states whose Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have been reluctant to support the White House's sprawling pandemic recovery package. Her outreach marked a soft shift from the quiet perch she has occupied by Biden’s side since taking office, signaling that the White House sees her as a persuasive force who can help keep congressional Democrats in line.

“The president and I feel very strongly that these are the moments, when we are facing a crisis of unbelievable proportion, that the American people deserve their leaders to step up and stand up for them,” Harris told WSAZ, a West Virginia television station.

“If we don’t pass this bill ... we know more people are going to die in our country,” she told the Arizona Republic.

Harris’s blitz across the country comes as the White House faces significant obstacles to passing its “American Rescue Plan” with a 60-vote threshold in the Senate, meaning all 50 Democrats would need to sign on — as well as 10 Republicans. Even if that threshold is lowered, Biden and Harris still must keep their party together.

That's because centrist lawmakers, including several Democrats, have balked at the total cost of the White House's proposed package, complicating even the prospect of passing the bill via the "budget reconciliation" rule. Such a move would allow Democrats to shove the coronavirus package through in the upper chamber with a 51-vote majority that would include Harris's tie-breaking vote.


I am not sure that Harris has the clout with voters to change these votes. Biden could be forced to compromise on the amount of the bill.


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