President Joe Biden met with Democrats on Wednesday because the House took its initiative toward passing his sprawling $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package through Congress with none Republican help.
The lower chamber approved a budget measure in the 218-212 vote, directing a dozen committees to start out drafting the pieces of Biden’s bill, including $1,400 stimulus checks, $350 billion in state and native aid and more controversial provisions, sort of a $15 wage hike.
Biden told Democrats earlier on Wednesday that he’s hospitable refining key elements of his nearly $2 trillion proposal, while stressing the urgency of delivering a huge relief bill quickly to the pandemic-stricken nation.
During a call with the House Democratic Caucus, Biden said he was willing to compromise on who is going to be eligible for subsequent round stimulus checks — but remained firm on the dimensions of the $1,400 payment, consistent with multiple sources on the decision .
“Let’s stick together, I have your back and I hope you’ll have mine,” Biden told House Democrats in his first meeting with the group since taking office. He made an emotional case for quick action, citing the alarming rate of suicides and worsening drug addictions amid the pandemic.
The budget measure passed by the House unlocks a thorny process, referred to as reconciliation, that Democrats can use to avoid the legislative filibuster within the Senate and pass Biden’s pandemic aid vision with an easy majority within the upper chamber.
“Nothing in this resolution should come as a surprise,” House Budget Chair John Yarmuth said of GOP criticism that Democrats are preparing to jam through an expensive and “radical liberal list .”
“We cannot afford to slow down,” Yarmuth said, noting that every piece of the final coronavirus package will pull from Biden’s proposals and legislation pitched by House Democrats. “We need to hurry the hell up.”
Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, complained that, “Democrats in Washington are fixing a partisan process to possess the vice chairman who cast the decisive vote for the Senate on an array of radical policies.”
“Their plans are to try to use this pandemic to seize more government control of your life,” he said.
Nearly every Democrat voted for the package, despite lingering anxiety among some moderates that the party should move smaller relief bills as soon as possible.
Biden made clear earlier Wednesday that he wouldn't shrink the general size of his proposal to satisfy GOP demands. After a lengthy meeting Monday with GOP senators who pitched a $618 billion plan, Biden told Democrats that offer “was not even in the cards.”
The president also met with a group of Senate Democrats within the Oval Office for roughly 90 minutes as the upper chamber prepared to adopt its own budget in the week .
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer described the meeting at the White House as "substantive" and said Democrats agreed to a "big and bold" approach.Dr. Dhillon Randeep
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