Biden says approaching coronavirus relief deal would be a ‘down payment’

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President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday commended the latest progress toward a bipartisan coronavirus relief package but described it as a “down payment” on what will ultimately need to be enacted early next year.

“The stimulus package is encouraging. It looks like they are very, very close and it looks like there’s going to be direct cash payments,” Biden told reporters Wednesday in Wilmington, Del. “But it’s a down payment, an important down payment on what’s going to have to be done beginning the end of January into February, but it’s very important it get done.”

“I compliment the bipartisan group on working together to get it done,” Biden continued.

Biden’s remarks came as Senate and House leaders neared a deal on a coronavirus relief package that includes $600 to $700 direct payments for some Americans.

The $900 billion package is the product of months of negotiations that periodically stalled amid disagreements over both top-line spending and where the money should go. It is not expected to include $160 billion in new assistance for state and local governments or liability protections, two key issues over which Republicans and Democrats have outstanding disagreements.

A bipartisan group of senators and House lawmakers revived talks earlier this month when they unveiled a bipartisan proposal, for which Biden has previously expressed support. 

Biden has urged Congress to pass a measure during the lame duck session in order to provide relief to Americans and businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic and its related closures, while saying it would likely fall short of what needs to be enacted. Biden has said that his transition team is working on a relief package that he will propose after he assumes office in late January. 

Tags Biden transition Coronavirus coronavirus relief COVID-19 direct payments Joe Biden

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