Michael Collins

Nicholas Wu
 
| USA TODAY

Joe Biden, Democrats ready to act on COVID relief without Republicans

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WASHINGTON – Days after an Oval Office assembly with Republican senators to talk about coronavirus relief, President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are barreling forward with their very own assist package deal and signaling they’re ready to act without backing from Republicans demanding a a lot smaller plan.

Biden informed House Democrats throughout a non-public name Wednesday that paring his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan down to the $618 billion proposed by 10 Senate Republicans was “not even in the cards.”

Later, the president met with Senate Democrats within the Oval Office, the place he expressed hope that some Republicans would come on board. “I think we’ll get some Republicans,” he stated.

Biden campaigned on a pledge to deliver bipartisanship again to Washington, however the White House has made it clear he gained’t budge from his place that his COVID-19 relief laws stay largely intact. During their assembly, Biden and Senate Democrats agreed on “the need to go big,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated.

Democrats stated they’re keen to search for areas of compromise with Republicans however burdened they’re keen to go it alone if obligatory.

“We need to do it bipartisan, however we have to be sturdy,” stated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “We cannot dawdle. We cannot delay. We cannot dilute. Because the troubles that this nation has and the opportunities that we can bring them are so large.”

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Tuesday, the Democratic-led Senate took a step toward fast-tracking Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package when it voted 50-49 along party lines to approve a budgetary measure that would allow the plan to pass with a simple majority and without Republican support.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., slammed the Democrats’ move. “They’ve chosen a totally partisan path,” he said. “We’re off to a totally partisan start. I think that’s unfortunate.”

McConnell threatened a host of amendments from Senate Republicans to force Democrats to take potentially controversial votes on denying funding to school districts that refused to reopen or on tax increases for small businesses.

The $618 billion package pushed by the 10 Senate Republicans would scrap Biden’s plan for $350 billion in direct aide to state and local governments, reduce direct payments to Americans from $1,400 to $1,000 and remove Biden’s proposal to boost the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In his private call with House Democrats, Biden told lawmakers he would not break “a promise to the American people” to present $1,400 assist checks, in accordance to a supply who was on the decision however not approved to communicate on the file.

Biden did sign that he was “not married on a particular number” for the general price of the package deal and urged he can be open to altering the revenue limits for eligibility for a verify.

Some reasonable Republicans, comparable to Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, urged establishing stricter revenue limits on the checks to forestall wealthier Americans from receiving them. Biden informed House Democrats he can be open to “better target the number” for revenue limits on the checks, the supply stated.

But “we have to get this done,” he stated.

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Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., signaled that he may help Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal regardless of expressing some hesitation about the fee.

“If it’s $1.9 trillion, so be it,” Manchin informed MSNBC. “If it’s a little smaller than that and we find a targeted need, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Asked whether or not Democrats ought to trim the package deal, Manchin replied, “No, no. Nothing should be taken off the table.”

“They’re going to negotiate,” he said. “That’s the process.”

Biden’s proposal got another boost this week when about 500 physicians from across the country released a joint letter calling on Congress to approve the plan.

“From our perspective as medical professionals who see the pain and suffering that this pandemic has inflicted on people, we recognize the American Rescue Plan’s wide-ranging ability to help us prevent illness, reduce sickness and help our communities return to normal,” the doctors wrote.

“The stakes could not be higher,” they said, “and the cost of inaction could not be more dire.”

Contributing: Joey Garrison, Bart Jansen, Courtney Subramanian

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