COVID-19 relief package hangs in the balance as lawmakers stay along party lines

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The clock is ticking for Congress as the next COVID-19 relief package hangs in the balance.

“I hope Congress passes the American rescue plan, which I’ve been pushing,” President Joe Biden said.

The president remains hopeful his $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan will make it to his desk.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says passing the package is critical to help Americans.

“They clearly want money for vaccinations. They clearly want school to reopen and funding to reopen schools and they clearly want direct checks,” Psaki said.

“The need is great, the opportunity is there and the precision of this legislation to directly address the needs of the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Pelosi expects the House to pass the American Rescue Plan by the end of the week, despite facing strong opposition from Republicans in both the House and Senate.

“92% of the bill is not connected to COVID,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said.

Republicans like Cruz argue the package is wasteful.

“it’s simply paying off their political allies at home,” Cruz said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Senate Democrats are prepared to move with or without Republicans.

“The senate will soon take action on our plan to solve this crisis,” Schumer said.

Democrats are expected to use a process called “budget reconciliation,” which only requires a simple majority.

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn says that’s not the right way to go about passing more relief.

“I believe that the right, the correct ruling would be to say that the budget process cannot be used to pass substantive legislation,” Cornyn said.

Despite the opposition, Democrats believe this is the direction to go. Psaki says Republicans have not brought another plan to the table, so they will stick with this route.

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