Newsman: President-elect Joe Biden said during announcement of his economic team that he wants send the message to the American people “help is on the way.” He also mentioned his goal to get a better and bigger economic aid. But a few days later Biden swung behind a bipartisan COVID-19 relief effort and his top Capitol Hill allies cut their demands for a $2 trillion-plus measure by more than half in hopes of breaking a month’s long logjam and delivering much-sought aid as the tempestuous congressional session speeds to a close.
Biden said ‘It is a start.’ He said Wednesday developing aid package “wouldn’t be the answer, but it would be the immediate help for a lot of things.” He wants a relief bill to pass Congress now, with more aid to come next year.
Biden’s remarks followed an announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer of New York in support of an almost $1 trillion approach as the “basis” for discussions. The announcement appeared aimed at budging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who so far has been unwilling to abandon a $550 billion Senate GOP plan that has failed twice this fall.
The Democrats embraced a $908 billion approach from moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, among others. It would establish a $300 per week jobless benefit, send $160 billion to help state and local governments, boost schools and universities, revive popular “paycheck protection” subsidies for businesses, and bail out transit systems and airlines.
In a significant concession statement Speaker Pelosi and senate minority leader Schumer said,
“In the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations,” Pelosi and Schumer said. They said they would try to build upon the approach, which has support in the House from a bipartisan “problem solvers” coalition.
But they wanted a more generous unemployment benefit and far more for state and local government. Their embrace of the $908 billion measure was a retreat from a secret $1.3 trillion offer they gave McConnell just on Monday.