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Most crucial week yet on Covid-19 relief begins

February 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.5%. 2 min read.

This week is President Joe Biden's first big test, as his massive relief Covid-19 relief bill comes together on the Hill with very little bipartisan support.

Bottom line: The next three weeks will give an early glimpse into how the Democrats' moderates and progressives work together, who is willing to make good on their threats to torpedo legislation and who is willing to set aside their political grievances in the name of the bigger picture.

Moderate lawmakers I've talked to have repeatedly hinted that Pelosi has made it clear to the caucus that this bill is a priority for the President and what's in is a carbon copy of what he has asked House Democrats to deliver.

Republican leaders in the House have made it clear to their members they don't want them voting for Biden's Covid relief package.

As soon as Tuesday, Democratic and Republican staffers will sit down with Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough to hash out whether the $15 minimum wage is allowed under the budget reconciliation process.

Yes, it's true that the same parliamentarian allowed a provision to drill in ANWR to pass through this process during 2017, but every provision is unique, and given none of us are complete experts in Senate rules, it's hard to predict which way this shakes out.

The meeting Tuesday is formally called a "Byrd bath" (in actuality there is more than one bath because Republicans and Democrats will hash out a series of issues in multiple meetings all week.

The rules were intended to ensure that the majority party didn't just go and use reconciliation to pass any old thing through the Senate with just 51 votes.

As arcane as a ruling from the parliamentarian might sound, this matters because it could ultimately determine if this bill will have the votes to pass or not.

Quietly, Democratic senators and aides CNN is talking to all over the caucus argue that the parliamentarian stripping it out may be the only way to avoid a major, intra-party schism on Biden's first big piece of legislation.

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