Chuck Grassley criticized Democratic Senators’ decision to pass a COVID-19 relief package despite a lack of bipartisanship

The $1.9 trillion relief package passed the Senate with a 50-49 vote over the weekend, and is currently awaiting a second and final vote in the House.


Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks about lowering prescription drug prices during the Corridor Business Journal Health Care Summit at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on Feb. 14.

Brian Grace, Politics reporter

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Democrats did not attempt to gain bipartisan support on the most recent $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package during a press call on Wednesday.

The package passed the Senate on March 6 with a vote of 50-49 with no Republicans voting in the package’s favor. The package is currently awaiting a second and final vote by the House before it’s sent to President Joe Biden’s desk for approval.

Grassley compared the vote to similar bills the Senate passed last year under former President Donald Trump’s administration with bipartisan support, including the initial $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill which received unanimous support in the Senate in March 2020 during the initial onset of the pandemic. 

“The Democrats chose a process that bypassed Republican input, and even spent the first nine hours of debate over the weekend pushing one of their own moderate senators to fall in line,” Grassley said in the call. “The Biden administration is now deciding what policies to pursue next and how to pursue them. It’s possible we could finally see some of that bipartisanship in action, but it’s also possible we see Democrats pursue political issues with no outreach on the other side.”

Grassley said he was particularly against an amendment in the package that would provide aid for state local governments, citing that states like California and Florida that already have a substantial surplus of funding don’t need additional aid.

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Grassley proposed an amendment to the package that would provide additional aid for Iowa farmers who had incurred damages from the derecho that swept through the state in August last year, though the amendment did not receive support from any Democratic senators.

Grassley introduced a bill last year to reduce the cost of consumer prescription drugs, which he said during Wednesday’s press call is an example of legislation that he thinks could garner bipartisan support.

“I hope the President and my Democratic colleagues see that as well, instead of getting blinded by some other local pet projects, which makes up about two-thirds of the $1.9 trillion bill,” Grassley said during the call.