Biden meets Republican senators on virus aid, but no quick deal

Biden meets Republican senators on virus aid, but no quick deal
President Joe Biden meets Republican lawmakers to discuss a coronavirus relief package. Source: AP Photo
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Daily US Times: During a two-hour meeting on Monday night, President Joe Biden told Republican senators that he’s unwilling to settle on an insufficient coronavirus aid package after they pitched their slimmed down $618 billion offer that’s a fraction of the $1.9 trillion he is seeking.

No compromise was reached in the lengthy meeting, Biden’s first with lawmakers at the White House, and Democrats in Congress pushed ahead with groundwork for approving his coronavirus relief plan with or without Republican votes.

Despite the Republican group’s appeal for bipartisanship, as part of president Biden’s efforts to unify the country, the president made it clear he would not delay aid in hopes of winning GOP support.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said that while there were areas of agreement, “the president also reiterated his view that Congress must respond boldly and urgently, and noted many areas which the Republican senators’ proposal does not address.”

“He will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response, and will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment,” Psaki said.

The two sides are far apart, with the 10 Republican senators group focused primarily on the health care crisis and smaller $1,000 direct payment to Americans, and Joe Biden leading Democrats toward a more sweeping rescue package, three times the size, to shore up households, local governments and a partly shuttered economy.

On a fast track, the goal is to have coronavirus relief approved by March, when extra unemployment assistance and other Covid pandemic aid expires, testing the ability of the new administration and Congress to deliver, with political risks for all sides from failure.

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