Biden team pitches rest of US on Covid relief package

Stuck in DC, Biden team pitches rest of US on big virus aid
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Even as President Biden gathers with senators and works the phones with Capitol Hill to push for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, his team is increasingly focused on selling the plan directly to voters.

Biden administration has done 60-plus interviews so far with national TV and radio shows. There have been spots on local TV news and briefings last week with more than 50 groups including Meals on Wheels America, General Motors and Planned Parenthood. One of the main goals is to stop people from getting bogged down in the tangle of partisan deal-making and convince them that every penny of the “go big” package is needed.

Cedric Richmond, the White House director of public engagement, said: “The public is not getting caught up in process — what they want is results.”

“People these days are not worried about the inside-the-beltway terminology. They’re looking at who’s doing what to help,” he said.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden told House Democrats that he views the package’s proposal for $1,400 in direct payments to Americans as a foundational promise to voters and he cannot break that pledge in his first legislative action.

President Biden has suggested he may be flexible on the $1.9 trillion figure for the relief package and on ways to more narrowly target who gets direct payments. But the $1,400 amount appears to be non-negotiable.

He said: “I’m not going to start my administration by breaking a promise to the American people.”

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