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Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal

Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE and congressional Democratic leadership on Thursday discussed the need for a coronavirus deal during the end-of-the-year lame duck session.

Biden, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Top Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerRon Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade MORE (D-N.Y.) spoke on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic, with cases climbing across the country, and the economic turmoil, according to a joint readout from Biden's transition team and the congressional Democrats.

"They discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families," according to the readout.

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The call comes as deep divisions are already casting doubt on Congress's ability to get a coronavirus deal before the end of the year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE (R-Ky.), who is expected to take the reins of any talks from the Trump administration, has said he wants a smaller bill similar to the roughly $500 billion previously offered by Republicans in October.

Democrats, meanwhile, on Thursday touted the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3.4 trillion bill passed by the House in May, as their "starting point" for any talks.

Beyond a coronavirus deal, Biden, Pelosi and Schumer also turned their attention toward 2021, talking about how to get bipartisan deals on infrastructure, clean energy and creating "millions of good-paying union jobs," according to the readout.

The talk comes as Biden has not yet spoken with congressional Republican leadership, who have not yet acknowledged that he won the presidential race as they try not to get ahead of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE.

Schumer and Pelosi also talked to Biden on Saturday after the race was called for him.

Biden, in Thursday’s call, vowed to be in close touch with Schumer and Pelosi and reiterated his “commitment to uniting the country after a hard-fought campaign."