WASHINGTON — President Biden sat down with 10 GOP senators in the Oval Office on Monday to barter the phrases of his coronavirus rescue bundle — barely an hour after Democratic leaders launched a plan to ram the bill by Congress with out Republican assist.
Biden hosted the Republican lawmakers after they provided him a $600 billion counterproposal to his monumental $1.9 trillion bailout and requested for a gathering.
Flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, the president thanked the group of Republicans, together with Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, for making the journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“I’m anxious for us to speak. I really feel like I’m again in the Senate,” he joked, referring to his 36 years because the Democratic senator from Delaware and ignoring shouted questions from reporters about when he wished Congress to take up his bill.
The lawmakers emerged two hours later from the assembly, which Collins advised reporters was “frank and really helpful” however mentioned the 2 sides had been nonetheless very far aside.
“It was an excellent alternate of views. I wouldn’t say that we got here collectively on a bundle tonight. Nobody anticipated that in a two hour assembly,” she mentioned.
Biden’s stimulus bundle requires funds of $1,400 to all People caught up in the monetary disaster created by the pandemic, whereas the GOP plan requires $1,000 checks.
Earlier Monday, White Home press secretary Jen Psaki insisted the Oval Office assembly was a part of good religion negotiations between Biden and the GOP earlier than Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer ploughed forward with their plan to go the massive bundle with none GOP assist.
An hour earlier than Biden’s assembly, Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Schumer (D-NY) introduced they’d filed a decision clearing the trail for Democrats in Congress to go the bill and override any considerations from Republicans that the bundle is just too costly and pointless.
“Congress has a duty to rapidly ship fast complete relief to the American folks hurting from COVID-19,” Pelosi and Schumer mentioned in an announcement.
“The price of inaction is excessive and rising, and the time for decisive motion is now.”
At her press briefing on Monday morning, Psaki indicated that the White Home would assist Democrats in the event that they determined to go the bundle by reconciliation.
Schumer and Pelosi’s resolution to push forward with reconciliation is prone to uncut Biden’s appeals to “unity” and his claims to be a grasp negotiator after spending a long time in the US Senate and erase any goodwill the brand new administration had with Republicans.
The uncommon tactic would permit for the laws to go in the Senate with a easy majority of 50, plus Harris’ tie-breaking vote, slightly than the 60 votes usually required.
Collins mentioned she believed Congress might go one other bipartisan bundle.
“We now have demonstrated for the final 12 months that we are able to come collectively on a bipartisan bundle dealing with the covid disaster. In reality, we’ve accomplished that not simply a couple of times, we’ve accomplished it 5 instances, and I’m hopeful that we are able to go a sixth bipartisan covid relief bundle,” she mentioned.
When pushed on allegations that Biden was “abandoning his hope for bipartisanship,” Psaki mentioned Republicans might as a substitute simply get behind the bundle.
“Even when by the parliamentary course of, that the Congress will resolve, it strikes towards reconciliation, Republicans can nonetheless vote for that and there’s actually precedent of that in the previous,” she recommended.
Conservatives have already been angered by Biden’s unprecedented blitz of government actions, whereas his push to go his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bundle has already acquired one highly effective Democrat offside.
On Monday morning, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin slammed Harris for pressuring him to approve of the bill after she appeared on an area TV station final week.
“We have to work collectively. That’s not a approach of working collectively,” he mentioned.