Senate passes budget plan to advance Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid aid package

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Joe Biden attacks Republicans for proposing to ‘do nothing or not enough’ to rescue the economy as House approves resolution that puts his $1.9tn COVID package closer to reality
President Joe Biden attacked Republicans for not doing enough to help people suffering from the economic fallout of COVID
‘I am going to act an act fast. I would like to be doing it with the support of Republicans,’ Biden said
He argued people are suffering and there is no time to wait
Biden said officials ‘can’t do too much’ to help those suffering from COVID
‘The one thing we learned is we can’t do too much here,’ he said
Comments come as Congress is set to approve his $1.9 trillion relief plan without Republican support
Vice President Harris broke a 50-50 Senate deadlock by casting a vote in favor
House then passed Senate measure Friday afternoon

President Joe Biden attacked Republicans Friday for not doing enough to help people suffering from the economic fallout of COVID, berating them for their lack of support as his $1.9 trillion relief plan took a step closer to reality.

He spoke at the White House after the Senate passed 51-50 his package, with Kamala Harris using her vote for the first time to break the tie, opening the way for it to be forced through using the ‘reconciliation’ mechanism which needs only a simple majority – and therefore does not require Republican support.

Biden also hosted talks in the Oval Office Friday morning with Nancy Pelosi, her number two Steny Hoyer and the heads of the House committees which will deal with the package, marking a return to the White House for the top Democrats after their bitter estrangement from Donald Trump.

‘I believe the American people are looking now to their government for help to do our job, to not let them down. So I am going to act an act fast. I would like to be doing it with the support of Republicans,’ Biden said in remarks on the economy from the State Dining Room, flanked by Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

‘I met with Republicans, some fine people, want to get something done, but they’re not willing to go as far as I think we have to go. I told both Republicans and Democrats that’s my preference to work together, but if I have to choose between getting help now to Americans hurting so badly,’ he said. ‘That’s an easy choice. I am going to help the American people that are hurting now.’

After Biden spoke at the White House, the House of Representatives passed the Senate measure by a largely party line vote, indicating his plea to Republicans fell on death ears. Congressional committees will now begin drawing up the formal legislation containing Biden’s wish list for relief.

His comments also came after the Labor Department reported on Friday that the economy added only 49,000 jobs in January, and just 6,000 in the private sector. The labor market is 10 million jobs below its pre-COVID pandemic levels.

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