President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan is already getting pushback from Republicans, tripping up a seamless passage by Congress, CNBC reported on Thursday (Jan. 21).
Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday, (Jan. 20) and had asked lawmakers last week to greenlight his aggressive stimulus plan. The country reported 4,131 deaths on Wednesday, a new single-day record, according to an NBC News tally, per CNBC.
Bipartisan senators are likely meeting with Biden’s National Economic Council Director Brian Deese about the plan, a source told CNBC. Although he is expected to push for the original package proposed by Biden, he is said to be considering GOP input that could cement its passage.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah, part of the bipartisan senators that worked on the package, aren’t sure another round is needed, especially at the price of $1.9 trillion.
Both the House and Senate are now controlled by Democrats, with the upper chamber divided 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Democrats on a caucus call that he hopes to get initial legislation passed with bipartisan support, according to a source, per CNBC. The package will include money for vaccine distribution, but it’s unknown what else is being considered for inclusion.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said per CNBC that Biden wants to pass the plan with Republican support, but no tools are being taken off the bargaining table.
Biden’s plan includes a $1,400-per-person payment to most households, on top of the recently-passed $600 check; a $400 boost to weekly unemployment through September; and an expanded child tax credit. The plan also sets the federal minimum wage at $15 per hour and earmarks $20 billion for a national COVID-19 vaccine program and $50 billion for testing.