Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package

President Biden on Wednesday thanked House Democrats for their work passing his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal and urged them to remain "unified" and continue to advocate for the plan.

In virtual remarks at a House Democratic Caucus event, Biden argued that passing the coronavirus relief bill would give Democrats momentum to accomplish other policy items and restore public trust in government given the popularity of the legislation shown in polls.

"Staying unified as we complete this process to pass the American Rescue Plan won't just make a difference in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to rebuild the economy, it will also show the American people we are capable of coming together for what matters most to them," said Biden, who was introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)."They have lost faith in government. This is a time to reestablish that faith." 

Biden urged Democrats to continue to advocate publicly for the proposal, acknowledging that they did not do so when former President Obama ushered through the 2009 recovery bill to help the country move past the Great Recession. 

"We didn't adequately explain what we had done. Barack was so modest, he didn't want to take a victory lap," Biden said. "We paid a price for it - ironically - for that humility."

Biden added of the coronavirus relief bill: "Each piece isn't just defensible, it's urgent and overwhelmingly supported by the people. It's good policy and good politics."

The president delivered the address almost a week after the House passed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill along largely party lines; the Senate is taking up the legislation this week. The bill is expected to pass without Republican support in the Senate.

The bill passed by the House includes funding for another round of stimulus checks, school reopenings, vaccine distribution, extended unemployment benefits, state and local assistance and other measures. Senate Democrats on Wednesday agreed to lower the income cutoff for those receiving the $1,400 stimulus payments. 

Biden acknowledged on Wednesday that some Democrats are having to make "small compromises" and thanked House lawmakers for their work passing the legislation. 

"I know parts of this and everything else we seek to do are not easy, but people are going to remember how we showed up in this moment. How we listened to them," Biden said. "I believe we are going to come through this and I believe people's memories are going to be long."