Meanwhile, Democrats continue to prepare a maneuver to pass the bailout package without Republican support
President Joe Biden told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that he would not reject including the $1,400 public assistance payments in the economic aid package, but would consider imposing stricter criteria for receiving them, lawmakers and their aides said.
Biden held a teleconference with House Democrats and met with senators at the White House as the party prepares to use a procedural maneuver to pass a $1.9 trillion aid package without Republican support.
“We talked about direct payments and what changes could be put in place to ensure that the aid is targeted,” Democratic Senator Chris Coons told the White House Wednesday morning as he left the White House. – But President Biden has made clear that he’s not going to ignore the middle class and he’s not going to backtrack on his promises.
Speaking with House Democrats, the president said he didn’t want to start his presidency by breaking promises of aid, a congressional aide said.
Biden’s proposal has the same criteria as previous COVID-19 aid bills: payments are available to Americans whose income is up to $75,000 per person and up to $150,000 per couple.
Biden met with 10 moderate Republican senators on Monday and said he wants support from both parties. Republicans, however, want to reduce the amount of the aid package, recalling that $4 trillion has already been allocated previously to fight the effects of the pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Democrats’ strategy did not rule out bipartisan cooperation but promised to pass a sweeping initiative that includes aid to the unemployed, businesses, housing, schools, and state and municipal governments, as well as additional funding for the vaccination program.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for their partisan approach, denouncing their plan to employ a strategy that would allow the bill to pass by a simple majority vote.
“The new president talks a lot about unity, but his administration staff and congressional leaders are working under a different script,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.