With Covid-19 killing thousands of people each day in the U.S. and the economy still mired in deep recession, progressives are calling on President Joe Biden and the Democrat-controlled Congress to abandon futile outreach to the GOP and push ahead with a robust relief package after a pair of so-called \u0022moderate\u0022 Republican senators voiced skepticism Wednesday about passing another major spending bill.Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), members of a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling itself the Common Sense Coalition, indicated shortly after Biden\u0026#039;s inauguration Wednesday that they would have difficulty supporting relief legislation on the scale of the $1.9 trillion plan the president unveiled last week—a proposal progressives criticized as inadequate.\u0022Who cares what Romney thinks. Ultimately the effectiveness of the Biden admin will be determined by how often they ignore what Republicans have to say and jam stuff through reconciliation.\u0022 —James Medlock, policy analystRomney characterized Biden\u0026#039;s opening offer as \u0022not well-timed\u0022 given that Congress \u0022passed a $900 billion-plus package\u0022 last month. Some economists argue that between $3 trillion and $4.5 trillion in spending will be necessary in the short-term to bring the U.S. out of recession and pave the way for a speedy recovery.\u0022Let\u0026#039;s give that some time to be able to influence the economy,\u0022 Romney said of the December relief measure.Murkowski echoed Romney\u0026#039;s concern, complaining that \u0022the ink is just barely dry on the $900 billion.\u0022 Biden\u0026#039;s relief proposal—which includes $1,400 direct payments, a boost to unemployment benefits, and other key measures—would require \u0022a fair amount of debate and consideration,\u0022 said the Alaska Republican.Given that Biden would likely need the backing of both Romney and Murkowski—as well as other Republicans—to achieve his hope of passing a relief bill with bipartisan support, progressives said the two senators\u0026#039; comments further bolster the case for ignoring the austerity-obsessed GOP and using unified Democratic control of government to swiftly pass an ambitious package.\u0022Who cares what Romney thinks,\u0022 tweeted policy analyst James Medlock. \u0022Ultimately the effectiveness of the Biden admin[istration] will be determined by how often they ignore what Republicans have to say and jam stuff through reconciliation.\u0022Medlock was referring to the expedited, filibuster-proof process that allows passage of certain kinds of legislation with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes—a threshold that would require the support of at least 10 Republican senators.Biden has not explicitly endorsed passing coronavirus relief through reconciliation if Republicans obstruct his agenda. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the new administration\u0026#039;s first press briefing Wednesday that while the president\u0026#039;s \u0022clear preference is to move forward with a bipartisan bill,\u0022 Biden is \u0022not going to take tools off the table for how the House and Senate can get this done.\u0022With the reconciliation process a possibility, another—and, according to some progressives, much better—option is to quickly eliminate the legislative filibuster, a move that would allow passage of legislation without any Republican support.Democrats control the Senate by the narrowest possible margin, meaning they would need the backing of the entire caucus plus a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris to pass legislation in the absence of the filibuster, which Democrats can kill with a simple majority vote.\u0022A Republican minority shouldn\u0026#039;t be allowed to hold the nation\u0026#039;s economic recovery and public health hostage,\u0022 progressive organizer Ilya Sheyman said, urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to use one of the two tools at his disposal to pass a major relief bill.Two choices for @SenSchumer: End the filibuster or pass COVID Relief through reconciliation.A Republican minority shouldn’t be allowed to hold the nation’s economic recovery and public health hostage. https://t.co/G6V8Wodyov— Ilya Sheyman (@iSheyman) January 21, 2021Amid growing GOP hostility to additional coronavirus relief spending, Biden\u0026#039;s economic advisers are expected to meet with the Common Sense Coalition in the coming days, continuing outreach to Republicans and conservative Democrats—such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—that began before the inauguration.\u0022We can do 1,000 straight days of this song and dance or we can just zoom ahead and enjoy a glorious, filibuster-free existence,\u0022 tweeted Ryan Kearney of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. \u0022Your choice!\u0022Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said Wednesday that while he has \u0022no problem with reaching out to Republicans\u0022 and \u0022would prefer to do it that way,\u0022 he has no intention of wasting precious time trying to bring intransigent GOP lawmakers onboard.\u0022If we hear very early on that Republicans do not want to act in a way that meets the needs of working people in this country or the middle class, sorry, we\u0026#039;re gonna do it alone,\u0022 the Vermont senator said in an appearance on ABC.\u0022I have no problem with reaching out to Republicans. I would prefer to do it that way. But if we hear very early on that Republicans do not want to act in a way that meets the needs of working people, SORRY, WE\u0026#039;RE GONNA DO IT ALONE.\u0022 @BernieSanders #ChairmanSanders pic.twitter.com/4tIR8wNw7T— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) January 20, 2021As progressive Democrats and advocacy groups demand quick action, the timeline for movement of a coronavirus relief package remains unclear. Punchbowl News reported Wednesday morning that \u0022Democrats do not expect to be able to send Biden a Covid relief bill until early March,\u0022 when emergency unemployment benefits are set to expire for millions of Americans.Progressives made clear that waiting until March to pass a relief bill would be unacceptable, given the enormity of the public health and economic emergencies that are ravaging the country.\u0022We urge the President to continue to act swiftly and boldly to address the multiple crises our nation faces,\u0022 Rahna Epting, executive director of advocacy group MoveOn, said in a statement late Wednesday. \u0022People\u0026#039;s lives depend on it. We cannot allow Washington gridlock or Republican obstruction to stand in the way of the urgent needs of the nation.\u0022Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued a similar call to action, demanding that the Biden administration and Democratic Congress work toward \u0022the swift passage of a comprehensive and bold relief package that meets the scale of this crisis.\u0022\u0022We have no time to waste,\u0022 said Jayapal.