Biden calls on US Congress to pass emergency COVID-19 aid

Biden calls on US Congress to pass emergency COVID-19 aid
President-elect Joe Biden, speaks during a meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Wilmington, Delaware, US. Source: AP Photo
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Daily US Times: The US President-elect Joe Biden is pushing for US Congress to enact billions of dollars in emergency coronavirus assistance before the end of the year, as new Covid-19 infections are surging across the country.

Saying there is “a lot of work to do,” Joe Biden met in-person on Friday with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the first time since winning the presidential election.

Mr Biden hosted the top Democrats in Congress at his makeshift transition headquarters at a theatre in downtown Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden transition aide Jen Psaki said the leaders are “in lockstep agreement that there needs to be emergency assistance and aid during the lame-duck session to help families, to help small businesses”.

Psaki said: “There’s no more room for delay and we need to move forward as quickly as possible.”

But prospects for new virus aid this year is not certain yet, despite surging numbers of new coronavirus cases and hospitalisations.

The US has now reported more than 253,000 deaths and more than 11.8 million cases since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Pelosi said talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican leaders on November 19 did not produce any consensus on a new Covid-19 aid package, adding that “That didn’t happen, but hopefully it will.”

McConnell proposed that US Congress shift $455 billion of unspent small business lending funds towards a new COVID-19 aid package. His offer came after a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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