Senate

Schumer seeks to avoid last-minute changes to pass coronavirus bill: report

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is seeking to avoid any last-minute changes to President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, three sources familiar with the talks told Axios.

The sources told the news outlet that Schumer expects the final version of the measure to remain relatively unchanged.

Schumer met with moderate Democratic senators on Thursday morning, who pushed for several changes to the bill including more funding for rural hospitals and broadband, and extending unemployment benefits, Axios reported. 

After the meeting, the majority leader told Axios, "They have some ideas and we are going to check them out," but declined to say if any of the lawmakers suggested lowering the $1.9 trillion price tag.

Schumer's office didn't immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

The report comes as Democrats inch closer to passing Biden's much-anticipated relief bill, which will be up for a vote on the House floor on Friday.

Schumer previously warned Senate Democrats in a conference call that they needed to stay completely unified as the bill heads to final passage.

Democrats faced a setback on Thursday, however, after Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour goes against the upper chamber's budget reconciliation process - which allows the measure to pass with a simple majority.

The ruling likely boosted the bill's overall chances of passing, given that moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have publicly opposed including the minimum wage boost in the package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after the ruling that the measure will be included in the bill, which would leave it up to the parliamentarian to remove it.

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