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Friday, March 5, 2021

Biden chases bi-partisan support for COVID bill

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Biden chases bi-partisan support for COVID bill
Biden chases bi-partisan support for COVID bill

President Joe Biden told congressional Democrats on Wednesday he would not back down on including $1,400 checks for struggling Americans in his COVID-19 relief plan but would consider tighter limits on who gets them.

Freddie Joyner has more.

REPORTER: "What were you saying?

You'd get Republican support?" BIDEN: “I think we'll get some Republicans.” U.S. President Joe Biden during a meeting with congressional Democrats on Wednesday promised he would not back down on including $1,400 checks for struggling Americans in his COVID-19 relief plan but would consider tighter limits on who gets them.

White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki emphasized that point at Wednesday’s briefing: “So further targeting means not the size of the check, it means the income level of people who receive the check.

And that's something that has been under discussion, has been a conclusion, but certainly is open to having that discussion.” Biden's proposal mirrors income requirements in previous COVID-19 bills that would provide payments to individuals making up to $75,000, and couples $150,000, a year.

Biden held a conference call with House Democrats and talked with Democratic senators at the White House as the party prepared to use a procedural maneuver to push his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package through without Republican votes if necessary.

In the call with House Democrats, Biden emphasized the need "to ensure that we keep the promise" on getting $1,400 checks to Americans after people received $600 in a previous COVID-19 relief package.

Republicans overall have balked at the price tag and pointed to the $4 trillion in COVID-19 aid passed last year.

MCCONNELL: "They've chosen a totally partisan path..." Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the Democrats' decision to press ahead with a framework that allows the eventual bill to pass with a simple majority, calling it a "partisan jam." Biden met with a group of 10 moderate Republican senators on Monday to discuss their much smaller counter-proposal, but Biden rejected it.

Biden said he still wanted to garner bipartisan support for his plan, which includes more money for vaccines and additional unemployment benefits.

Biden might win over some Republicans if he makes modifications, but if there are no changes, Senator Mitt Romney said Wednesday, "I would predict not a single Republican’ will support Biden's plan.

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