Biden, Calling Covid Aid Invoice a ‘Down Fee,’ Urges Extra Aid

“Joe Biden called this a first step, a down payment – we knew we would visit again and we would have a better chance with a Democratic president who does science,” Ms. Pelosi said in an interview, adding added that “we will have the presidential leadership.”

However, discussions about another bailout package will be a first test of Biden’s approach to working with Congress and his optimism about the prospect of bipartisan legislation in a highly polarized era. Barely a month before his inauguration, he still doesn’t know what the balance of power in Congress will look like when he takes office, and the House Democrats will face a significantly smaller majority in 2021.

Even if the Democrats win both runoffs for the Georgian Senate seats on Jan. 5 and gain control of the Chamber, the Senate’s current rules require some support from Republicans to ensure that legislation clears the Chamber. If Republicans hold on to at least one of these seats, Mr Biden will have to contend with a majority in the Republican Senate.

As he pursues another package, he will also face the prospect of finding an elusive compromise on two of the most difficult policy provisions: a direct stream of funding to state and local governments, for which he has repeatedly expressed his support, and a Republican demand for comprehensive liability protection against Covid-related lawsuits for companies, schools and other institutions. After roughly eight months of debate between the two sides, the congressional leaders finally agreed to remove both provisions from the final $ 900 billion deal.

The Republicans on Capitol Hill have begun to tacitly acknowledge Mr. Biden’s public request for a different package. After spending more than $ 3 trillion this year to help the economy and battle families, businesses, and institutions, several Republicans are resistant to yet another major package at the start of 2021.

“If we look at the critical needs now and things improve next year, when the vaccine hits the market and the economy picks up again, you know the need may be less,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota Republicans No. 2 in the Senate, told reporters last week before the deal hit.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has refused to initiate another round of relief despite not ruling out another round of negotiations.

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