Democrats in Congress and the White House rejected a Republican pitch to split President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan into smaller chunks on Thursday, with lawmakers appearing primed to muscle the sweeping economic and virus aid forward without GOP help. Despite Biden’s calls for unity, Democrats said the stubbornly high unemployment numbers and battered U.S. economy leave them unwilling to waste time courting Republican support that might not materialize. They also don’t want to curb the size and scope of a package that they say will provide desperately needed money to distribute the vaccine, reopen schools and send cash to American households and businesses. Biden has been appealing directly to Republican and Democratic lawmakers while signaling his priority to press ahead. ‘We’ve got a lot to do, and the first thing we´ve got to do is get this COVID package passed,’ Biden said Thursday in the Oval Office. The standoff over Biden’s first legislative priority is turning the new rescue plan into a political test – of his new administration, of Democratic control of Congress and of the role of Republicans in a post-Trump political landscape. Success would give Biden a signature accomplishment in his first 100 days… Read full this story
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