Biden administration asks Congress to pass COVID-19 relief bill

Washington

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden says his biggest priority is bringing relief to millions of Americans in the middle of a pandemic that has spiraled out of control.

His administration is asking Congress to pass another massive COVID-19 relief package.

“We have more work to do,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.

Durbin says with Biden now securely in the White House and the Senate flipped blue, Democrats are eager to pass another sweeping COVID-19 relief deal.

“Let’s take this seriously, let’s help the businesses, help the workers, help the families,” Durbin said.

And with death rates sky rocketing, Durbin says he fears the crisis will worsen if Congress fails to pass Bidens’ proposed $1.9 trillion plan.

“We may have to face the reality that we may have darker days ahead,” Durbin said.

The plan extends federal unemployment benefits, boosts funding for vaccine distribution, increases the minimum wage and includes another round of stimulus checks.

But Republicans are already pushing back.

“I suspect the whole package is a nonstarter,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said.

Although he doesn’t support it as a whole, Blunt says he wants to find common ground.

“There’s some things in there that aren’t going to happen, and there’s some things that can happen and that’s how this process should work,” Blunt said.

Iowa Sen. chuck Grassley also wants to see more relief but said in a statement that nontargeted relief checks and a $15 minimum wage would “undermine the bill’s own good intentions.”

At her first press conference, new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the plan.

“He (Biden) is no stranger to the process of bill making,” Psaki said. “It was laid out as his proposal based on recommendations from economists, recommendations from health experts … “

Psaki called on Congress to strike a final deal.

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