Biden leaves Republicans behind to fast track $1.9tn bill

Biden leaves Republicans behind to fast track $1.9tn bill
Mr Biden's fellow Democrats run Congress, and plan to pass the final bill using a budget manoeuvre. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: President Joe Biden is forging ahead with his administration’s plans to ram through a $1.9tn bill without the support of the Republican Party after disappointing jobs data.

Despite an Obama-era economist’s warnings the Covid aid package may be too big, Mr Biden vowed to “act fast”.

Mr Biden’s fellow Democrats run Congress and plan to pass the final bill using a budget manoeuvre.

The new president’s speech is being seen by US media as a shift in tone after he entered office pledging bipartisanship.

On Monday, Mr Biden met 10 Republican senators at the White House in the hope of a breakthrough for the $1.9tn bill, but brushed off their counter-proposal for a slimmed-down $618bn coronavirus relief bill.

Speaking at the White House on Friday after meeting congressional Democratic leaders, President Biden said: “A lot of folks are losing hope.

“I believe the American people are looking right now to their government for help, to do our job, to not let them down,” he said.

“So I’m going to act. I’m going to act fast. I’d like to be doing it with the support of Republicans. They’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go.”

Under the Biden-backed “American Rescue Plan”, $1,400 payment cheques would be sent directly to most Americans.

Mr Biden cited lower-than-expected numbers that showed the country added only 49,000 jobs in January.

The US economy remains 10 million jobs under its level before the coronavirus pandemic, which has now killed nearly 460,000 Americans.

He said: “Are we going to say to millions of Americans who are out of work – many out of work for six months or longer, who have been scared by this economic and public health crisis – ‘Don’t worry, hang on, things are going to get better.’

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