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Monday, April 19, 2021

‘COVID relief has to pass’: Biden to Congress

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‘COVID relief has to pass’: Biden to Congress
‘COVID relief has to pass’: Biden to Congress

With millions out of work, President Joe Biden and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday urged Congress to take immediate action on the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal.

Colette Luke has more.

With millions of Americans out of work and many pushed into poverty, President Joe Biden and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday urged Congress to take immediate action on the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: “So the choice couldn’t be clearer.

We have learned from past crises, the risk is not doing too much, the risk is not doing enough.

This is the time to act now.” Yellen, the administration’s point-person on the economy, reminded Congress that if it doesn’t act quickly then more people will be left behind.

JANET YELLEN: “If there is not more help, many more people will lose their small businesses, the roofs over their heads and the ability to feed their families… The president’s American Rescue Plan will help millions of people make it to the other side of this pandemic and it will also make some smart investments to get our economy back on track.” The pandemic has killed nearly 430,000 people in the U.S. and efforts to control it have taken an uneven economic toll on Americans.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor said the sharply divided chamber would begin work on robust legislation next week, with or without Republican support to pass it.

SEN.

SCHUMER: “We are in the midst of a once in a century crisis.

It requires a once in a century effort to overcome it.

The dangers of undershooting our response are far greater than overshooting… If our republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them.” Republicans and some Democrats have balked at the $1.9 trillion cost of Biden’s proposal, which is on top of $4 trillion dollars in aid approved by Congress last year.

But Democrats vow to push ahead and are preparing to use a parliamentary tool called "reconciliation", which would allow Democrats to pass much of Biden's proposal by a simple majority in the Senate, without Republican support, with Vice President Kamala Harris wielding the 50-50 Senate's tie-breaking vote.

Later Friday on his way to Walter Reed Medical Center, Biden again pushed Congress to act – even if the Democrats have to do it alone: PRESIDENT BIDEN: “I support passing covid relief with support from Republicans if we can get it, but covid relief has to pass.

There are no if, ands or buts.”

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