Sanders dismisses Biden 'unity' pledge to push COVID relief bill

Clay Curtis
February 2, 2021

"In the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a COVID-19 relief framework that builds on prior COVID assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support", the senators wrote to Biden on Sunday, seeking a meeting with him.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said on Sunday that Biden talked with the Republican group that came up with the $600 billion stimulus plan.

The president "reiterated that while he is hopeful that the Rescue Plan can pass with bipartisan support, a reconciliation package is a path to achieve that end", Psaki said.

One difference between the packages involves direct stimulus payments.

However, many Democrats are likely to see the Republicans' offer as low and insufficient. It's true that there is still billions from the last package that hasn't gone out the door. That is similar to what Biden has proposed. But it drops Biden's proposal for higher child tax credits.

"We want to work in good faith with you and your administration to meet the health, economic and societal challenges of the COVID crisis", reads the letter dated January 31.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that history is filled with "the costs of small thinking".

Rejecting as "totally inadequate" the $618 billion coronavirus relief proposal that a group of Republicans presented to President Joe Biden at the White House late Monday, Sen.

"Fully remedying the actions will take time and require a full-governance approach", one of the officials said.

Under legislation Democrats introduced last week in both chambers of Congress, the national minimum wage would increase to $15 an hour by 2025. However, a deal on this issue could lead to more bi-partisan work.

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders, a stalwart progressive lawmaker from Vermont and incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee, maintained that "the question is not bipartisanship".

Following the meeting, Collins said that no agreement was made, but that the sides would "follow up".

New COVID-19 Cases in Adams County Monday
Bonnie Henry says is one of the most concerning facing the province right now. "What each of us does matters", said Dr. Henry noted that the Super Bowl is coming up this weekend, followed by Lunar New Year and Family Day.

But in echoes of the 2009 financial crisis, Democrats warn against too small a package as they believe happened during the Obama administration's attempt to pull the nation toward recovery. It begins to set up the passage of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion emergency spending package without GOP support.

An invitation to the GOP senators to meet with Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris at the White House came hours after the lawmakers sent Biden a letter on Sunday urging him to negotiate rather than try to ram through his relief package exclusively on Democratic votes.

Cassidy added that their plan included less school funding, saying many private schools had already reopened and that "the real problem is public schools" and "teachers' unions telling their teachers not to go to work".

Republicans are proposing expansions to the existing Paycheck Protection Program - federal forgivable loans - and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

No payment would go to those making more than $50,000, or couples earning $100,000.

Under the Biden plan, families with incomes up to $300,000 could receive some stimulus money. For the good of the country, I am hoping Biden and the Republicans find some way to meet in the middle.

By doing that, however, all 50 Senate Democrats would have to agree to the proposal, which would allow Harris to cast the tiebreaking vote.

A fiscal 2021 budget measure, with coronavirus aid spending instructions, was headed for preliminary votes that would help unlock a legislative tool needed for Democrats to enact Biden's package swiftly in the face of Republican opposition.

Many Democrats in Congress are assailing the Republican plan as deeply insufficient to address the crisis.

The White House also released a letter Monday in which more than 400 mayors urged congressional leaders to approve Biden's aid package.

The New York Democrat said input from Republicans is "welcome".

Besides Collins and Cassidy, the GOP senators meeting with Biden were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Sen.

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