sunny.png
Saturday August 13th, 2022 8:05PM

COVID spending bill stalls in Senate as GOP, Dems stalemate

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — A compromise $10 billion measure buttressing the government’s COVID-19 defenses has stalled in the Senate and seemed all but certainly sidetracked for weeks, victim of a campaign-season fight over the incendiary issue of immigration.

There was abundant finger-pointing Wednesday but no signs the two parties were near resolving their stalemate over a bipartisan pandemic bill that President Joe Biden and top Democrats wanted Congress to approve this week. With Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., prioritizing the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson by week's end — quite possibly Thursday — the COVID-19 bill seemed sure to slip at least until Congress returns after a two-week recess.

A day earlier, the GOP blocked the Senate from even beginning debate on the bill, which would increase funding for COVID-19 treatments, vaccines and testing. Republicans were demanding that Democrats allow a vote on an amendment preserving immigration curbs imposed by President Donald Trump that the Biden administration is slated to end on May 23.

“Why did Republicans say no? Because they wanted to cripple COVID funding legislation with poison pills that they knew would derail this bill,” Schumer said Wednesday.

Schumer and a team of GOP negotiators led by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney struck a deal Monday on the pandemic bill. Democrats say Republicans are walking away from that agreement.

“The question we have is whether Republicans are acting in good faith to provide the resources we need to save American lives, or if they’re just playing politics," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “The virus is not waiting for Republicans in Congress to get their act together.”

While there would likely be at least the 10 GOP votes needed to push the pandemic bill through the 50-50 Senate, overall Republican support for it is tepid. And the GOP’s effort to refocus the fight to immigration — an issue that polls show hurts Biden — has clearly put Democrats on the defensive.

A vote on extending the immigration restrictions would expose Democratic senators, especially those facing tight reelections in November, to dangerous fissures. Liberal immigration advocates want Biden to erase the curbs, but doing that is expected to prompt an explosion of migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico that could trigger a voter backlash.

“We can win it," No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota said about a potential immigration vote. “They've got a number of Democrats who are for it. But their leadership is adamantly opposed, I would say hostile to the idea” of a vote.

When the pandemic was full-blown in 2020, Trump began letting authorities immediately expel asylum seekers and other migrants, citing the threat to public health. COVID-19's intensity has since waned in the U.S., though BA.2, a new omicron variant, is beginning to spread widely here.

Even GOP supporters of the pandemic bill say Democrats must resolve the legislative roadblock.

“They’re in the majority. And the administration says they need this money. And I actually agree with the administration,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who helped negotiate the package. “And the majority has to figure out how to get this done.”

Among Democrats who favor retaining the immigration restrictions for now is Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who is facing reelection. He and several others cite a need for federal officials to gear up staffing and facilities to handle the expected influx of migrants.

“I have not seen a plan for how the administration will deal with what I think is a pretty predictable surge on the border," he said Wednesday in a brief interview.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declined to discuss what she would do if the Senate sent her chamber a pandemic measure that also extended Trump's immigration strictures.

“Is that even something that the Senate would do?" she told a reporter. “When they send something, I'll let you know what we would do with it."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., bristled when asked why Democrats wouldn't simply accept the immigration restrictions as the price for winning the pandemic spending Biden says is needed.

“Your premise is whatever they put in there, take,” Hoyer said. “Uh uh, we’re not going to play that game.”

That reflects a Democratic view that the Republican effort to force an immigration vote is all about setting a political trap.

“Trust me, this is one of the pillars of their reelection campaign, immigration," said No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois. “The numbers appearing at our border are a real challenge, and I’m sure they’re going to make an issue of it.”

___

Associated Press writer Chris Megerian contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Health, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
COVID spending bill stalls in Senate as GOP, Dems stalemate
A compromise $10 billion measure buttressing the government’s COVID-19 defenses has stalled in the Senate
5:54PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Six-days-a-week mail delivery saved; Biden signs Postal bill
President Joe Biden has signed into law plans for a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service
5:54PM ( 8 minutes ago )
House debates contempt for Scavino, Navarro in Jan. 6 probe
The House is moving toward holding former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress as a new round of partisan fighting has erupted over the House committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
5:50PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
No charges filed in no-knock warrant killing of Amir Locke
Minnesota prosecutors have declined to file charges against a Minneapolis police SWAT team officer who fatally shot Amir Locke while executing an early morning no-knock search warrant in February
5:16PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Residents clear storm debris as more severe weather looms
Following violent storms blamed for killing at least three people, Southerners cleared fallen trees from roadways and began cleaning up debris from homes and buildings smashed by suspected tornadoes as forecasters warned more violent weather was likely on the way
5:02PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Yellen: Russia's invasion will have 'enormous repercussions'
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told a House panel that Russia’s actions in Eastern Europe “will have enormous economic repercussions in Ukraine and beyond.”
4:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Amir Locke's mom vows to fight on despite no charges in case
The mother of a Black man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police who were serving a no-knock warrant spoke angrily about the officer who killed her son, after prosecutors announced he would not be charged
2:22PM ( 3 hours ago )
Ex-Trump officials urge Texas to declare border 'invasion'
Former Trump administration officials are pressing Republican border governors to declare an “invasion” along the U.S.-Mexico border
1:19PM ( 4 hours ago )
Germany seeks to boost renewable energy, cut Russian imports
The German government has presented a major package of reforms to boost the construction of renewable power as part of its efforts to meet its climate goals and become independent of energy imports from hostile nations such as Russia
12:49PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Supreme Court reinstates Trump-era water rule, for now
The Supreme Court has reinstated for now a Trump-era rule that curtails the power of states and Native American tribes to block pipelines and other energy projects that can pollute rivers, streams and other waterways
11:49AM ( 6 hours ago )
Analysis: 3 GOP senators buck party to back Biden court pick
Three Republican senators are breaking from their party to support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's historic nomination to the Supreme Court
12:09AM ( 17 hours ago )
Oklahoma state House approves bill to make abortion illegal
The Oklahoma House has given final legislative approval to a bill that would make performing an abortion a felony
5:09PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Live Updates | Mayor: Over 5,000 civilians dead in Mariupol
The mayor of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol says more than 5,000 civilians have been killed during the monthlong Russian blockade, among them 210 children
5:09PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Toyota buyers soon will lose US electric vehicle tax credits
Toyota customers soon won’t be able to get U.S. federal tax credits for buying electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles
5:03PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Stocks fall, yields rise as Fed details inflation efforts
Stocks fell and bond yields rose on Wall Street Wednesday after details from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting showed the central bank intends to be aggressive in its efforts to fight inflation
4:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Six-days-a-week mail delivery saved; Biden signs Postal bill
President Joe Biden has signed into law plans for a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service
5:54PM ( 8 minutes ago )
House debates contempt for Scavino, Navarro in Jan. 6 probe
The House is moving toward holding former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress as a new round of partisan fighting has erupted over the House committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
5:50PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Democrats accuse oil companies of 'rip off' on gas prices
House Democrats are accusing oil companies of “ripping off the American people” and putting profits before production as Americans suffer from higher gasoline prices amid the war in Ukraine
5:41PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Live Updates | Thousands evacuated from Ukraine combat areas
Ukrainian authorities say nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated from combat areas, including the besieged city of Mariupol and the eastern region of Luhansk
5:40PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Dad who lived in dorm convicted of abusing daughter's pals
A man who moved into his daughter’s dorm at Sarah Lawrence College and charmed her schoolmates has been convicted of charges that he exploited the close-knit group of friends for power, cash and sex
5:38PM ( 24 minutes ago )