Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday said his goal is to keep the Democratic Party united behind President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill known as the American Rescue Plan.
According to Schumer, moderate Democrats need to get behind the bill because failing to pass it would be a political disaster. Some moderates, like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), take issue with the progressives' push to include a $15 minimum wage in the bill.
The Senate majority leader sees this as an opportunity to pass "bold" legislation to address the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
We are working to quickly pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver urgent, bold COVID relief to Americans nationwide.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 23, 2021
“I made a pitch today to our entire caucus and I said that we need to pass this bill," Schumer explained following the virtual meeting with the Democratic caucus, The Hill reported. "The American people, the American public demands it and everyone is going to have things that they want to see in the bill and we’ll work hard to see if we can get those things in the bill."
“Job number one is to pass the bill. Pass the bill we must," Schumer said. "And I have confidence we will do it."
Asked how he’s keeping the Democratic caucus united with such a slim 50-50 majority, Leader Schumer confidently held up his flip phone and said: “This is my answer.” pic.twitter.com/x7rHXOCsyR— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) February 23, 2021
“I speak to my members all the time,” Schumer said. Adding, "With 50 votes, we need our unity... we’re fighting to get it and so far so good"— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) February 23, 2021
It's highly unlikely Republicans will vote in favor of the relief bill, especially considering some of the non-COVID-related items that are placed in it. The $15 minimum wage is just one major one. Schumer has to keep the Democrats united. Because of the slim majority in the Senate, he can't afford to lose any votes, especially from his caucus.