Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued the following statement after Senate Democrats spent the overnight hours voting down a series of commonsense amendments designed to improve their partisan $1.9 trillion COVID relief spending bill.
“After all the talk of unity, President Biden and congressional Democrats took the partisan route right out of the gate. Rather than work with Republicans on a consensus COVID relief package, as we did five separate times last year, their first order of legislative business was to use a time-consuming budget tactic to force their priorities through along party lines. As a part of that process, they spent last night rejecting commonsense policies in their pursuit of a partisan liberal agenda. And after this political exercise, we are no closer to adopting another round of COVID relief. Republicans stand ready to seek a consensus on another round of aid targeted at those most in need. I believe we can do so in the time it takes the partisan process to be completed. We just need willing partners,” Grassley said.
The Senate voted through the night on amendments to a budget resolution that requires a simple majority vote rather than the standard 60 votes normally required. Though several Republican amendments were adopted on a bipartisan basis earlier in the evening, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) closed the night with a substitute amendment to the full package, stripping out those bipartisan amendments. Democrat senators who supported the Republican amendments reversed themselves to pass Schumer’s substitute. His amendment was adopted and the budget resolution was passed on a party-line 50-51 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. Further action is required by the House and the Senate to reach finality on the package, which isn’t expected until March.
Grassley offered an amendment to the resolution that would have prevented the lifting of the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) cap as many Democrats have advocated, a move that would amount to a six-figure tax break for the wealthiest Americans. According to the liberal Tax Policy Center a repeal of the SALT cap would provide an average tax cut of nearly $144,000 to the top 0.1 percent of earners. The amendment failed on a vote of 49-51.
“At a time when the federal government is spending trillions of dollars to restart the economy, it makes absolutely no sense to give six figure tax cuts to the highest earners in high-tax states, especially as those very states are coming to Congress with their hand out. Taxpayers in fiscally responsible states like Iowa would be left picking up the tab for the wealthiest New Yorkers and Californians,” Grassley said.