GOP blocks advancement of COVID-19 deal amid Trump-era immigration fight

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On Tuesday, Republicans blocked the Senate from advancing a $10 billion coronavirus aid deal amid a deadlocked fight over whether to tie down an era immigration policy. Trump to the deal.

Absent a breakthrough, the deadlock would delay the coronavirus bill until after a two-week break due to begin on Friday. To pass the deal before that, they would need the buy-in of all 100 senators.

Senators voted 47 to 52 to advance legislation that is being used as a vehicle for the coronavirus deal, short of the 60 votes needed to move forward.

Tuesday’s vote came after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) delayed forcing the same step until late last week in an attempt to show Republicans that he was not trying to block them as they reached a long-sought bipartisan coronavirus deal. aid.

But Republicans warn they won’t help push the coronavirus relief deal forward until they strike a deal with Schumer to get votes on the amendments.

Republicans want a vote to stop the Biden administration from overriding Title 42 — a Trump-era public health policy that allows for the rapid deportation of migrants at the border due to coronavirus risk — as part of a an agreement to accelerate the coronavirus agreement. Title 42 also prevents migrants from seeking asylum.

“Before we move forward with the bill, we need to agree on an amendment process,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), predicting that once this is worked out, the agreement could become “much more than” 60 votes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters his caucus was pushing for a vote on Title 42 and other proposals he wanted to vote on.

“Yes, I think there will have to be an amendment to Title 42 to move the bill forward. There are several other amendments that we are going to want to put forward, and so we will have to reach some sort of agreement to deal with these amendments in order to move forward with the bill, ”he said.

Part of the problem with giving Republicans a vote on Title 42 for Democrats is that it likely has enough support to be added to the coronavirus bill. Several moderate Democrats have criticized the Biden administration’s decision to roll back the Trump-era policy.

Although they need a formal decision from the Senate congressman, Republicans believe a Title 42-related amendment could be added to the coronavirus bill if they can get a simple majority. In a 50-50 Senate, that means they would only need to take away one Democratic vote.

Schumer could escalate the bill and urge Republicans to “change their tune.”

“I want there to be no mistake about what just happened here in the Senate. Republicans blocked a bipartisan bill that would provide vaccines, testing and treatment to the American people. … This is a potentially devastating vote for every American who is worried about the possibility of a new variant popping up in a few months,” he said.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also voted against advancing the coronavirus deal, saying that while he supports more aid, he cannot ‘support the siphoning off of essential resources from communities. rural, tribal, and small businesses in Oregon and the country just to pad profits from pharmaceutical companies.

The $10 billion deal would be paid for in part by redirecting funds from a local relief and tribal coherence fund and small business administration funds.

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