Biden aides dispute push for quicker, pared-down relief deal
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Monday pushed back on a report that he would favor a quicker economic relief deal, even if it meant ceding ground on some Democratic demands.
“This is incorrect. The President-elect fully supports the Speaker and Leader in their negotiations,” transition spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Biden’s advisers were pushing Democratic leaders to broker a quick stimulus deal with Senate Republicans to avoid further strain on the economy as the U.S. faces a worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The country is regularly reporting more than 100,000 daily infections and a steady increase in hospitalizations, and public health experts have warned the situation may further deteriorate in the winter as Americans are largely confined indoors where the virus can spread more easily.
Congressional Democrats have for months held out for a large, broad stimulus bill. House Democrats passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May and passed a $2.2 trillion, slimmed-down version of the package in October. Both versions include money for state and local governments, enhanced unemployment benefits, and a second round of stimulus payments.
That package has gone nowhere in the Senate, however, where the GOP proposed a $500 billion deal that contained more targeted relief.
Biden has been publicly supportive of the Democrats’ bill, and the statement from his team reflects an effort to maintain a unified front.
The president-elect last week urged Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package “like the HEROES Act.”