Jan 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Sanders says Democrats will push coronavirus relief package through with simple majority

Bernie Sanders wears a face mask in the Capitol

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leaves the Senate floor on Jan. 1. Photo: Liz Lynch/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote.

Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.

What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said.

  • "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now."
  • When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."
Go deeper