The Biden administration will push Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus bill, including $1,400 in direct payments, according to a spokesman, who said it’s needed to avert an economic crisis.
Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, has told reporters that he will speak to senators as part of a White House push to make the case for a larger stimulus package.
“We can’t wait,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre also told Reuters on Sunday. “Just because Washington has been gridlocked before doesn’t mean it needs to continue to be gridlocked.”
Biden, who was inaugurated on Jan. 20, said he would take aggressive action to combat the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency, and we need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” Biden said on Jan. 22 before he signed executive orders on economic relief. “I don’t believe Democrats or Republicans are going hungry and losing jobs; I believe Americans are going hungry and losing their jobs,” he added.
Biden added, “We have the tools to fix it. We have the tools to get through this. We have the tools to get this virus under control and our economy back on track. And we have the tools to help people. So let’s use the tools, all of them. Use them now.”
A number of Republican lawmakers have pushed back on the price tag.
“Spending and borrowing trillions of dollars from the Chinese among others is not necessarily the best thing we can do to get our economy to be strong long term,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told Fox News, adding that the “total figure is pretty shocking.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that COVID-19 relief, the confirmation of Biden’s cabinet picks, and the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump need to be completed soon.
“The Senate must advance all three in the next few weeks, and we will,” Schumer said in Manhattan on Sunday. “In the next three weeks, we will be doing three things, all of which are very much needed,” the Democrat said, noting that “the stakes are too high to delay any of them.”
Schumer has yet to come up with an organizing resolution with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“We need a big bold plan, and we hope the Republicans will join us in that,” added Schumer. “The stakes are too high to delay.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Democratic Majority Whip, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was hopeful for a show of bipartisanship in the Senate.
“The object is trying to see if there’s an area of agreement we can launch when it comes to this rescue package,” Durbin said.
Reuters contributed to this report.