There is a battle brewing in the Senate as President Joe Biden and his administration race to garner support for their proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. On paper, the Biden team has barely enough partisan support in the Senate to potentially pass the package because of the tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. However, with no margin for error, Biden and Harris are putting the pressure on moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to fall in line with their party on voting to push through the legislation.
Pressure Coming From Harris
The pressure is coming from Harris in the form of televised interviews aired in the home states of both Manchin and Sinema. The televised appearances in West Virginia and Arizona by Harris clearly sent the message to the senators that they need to support the package. In the interviews, Harris stressed the urgency of the plan that will provide an additional $1,400 in stimulus checks for all qualified Americans. Harris also pointed out that the legislation will expand the unemployment payments and increase the child tax credit to provide relief to the neediest American families.
Stimulus Checks a Point of Contention for Manchin
It is telling that Harris is riding the importance of the stimulus checks. Manchin has been a vocal opponent of the blanket $1,400 amount, saying that he thinks the money should be more targeted to those Americans who are truly in need. Manchin is aligning with his Republican colleagues in the Senate in saying that the stimulus checks should be limited to those Americans making less than $75,000 per year.