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Klain: COVID-19 relief could be first example of post-election bipartisan action

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President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming chief of staff Ron Klain said on Sunday that passing a COVID-19 relief bill could be the first bipartisan action made after the election as the Biden team continues to wait for access government officials and resources to begin the formal transition process.

“There’s a lot of things that are going to have to wait until Joe Biden is president, but this is not one of them.” Klain said when asked about the potential for a new congressional COVID-19 relief bill. “This is a national crisis. It needs bipartisan national action now.”

Months of stalled negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and members of Trump’s administration have failed to come to any agreement for fresh round of COVID-19 related relief for Americans. Klain offered praise of Pelosi, insisting the incoming administration would “have her back.”

“What I want her to hear is that we have her back in handling this. But we have the backs of the American people,” Klain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I mean, Chuck, it’s not that she hasn’t been at the table. She’s been at the table. We just now see the administration — current administration — has walked away from the table. So, our message to Speaker Pelosi is keep doing what you’re doing. To the Republicans, let’s get this done. I mean, this could be a first example of bipartisan action post the election.”

Despite the Trump administration not formally participating in the transition process and Trump not conceding the election, Biden announced the members of his COVID-19 Advisory Board, with medical advisers from previous administrations joining the team such as former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy and former Obama adviser Dr. Atul Gawande.

“Back in September, then candidate Joe Biden warned that America was headed to a very dark winter if the administration didn’t step up its action,” said Klain. “And you know, the very first business day of his transition, on Monday of this week, the president-elect met with his Covid Task Force and then made a public statement afterwards where he called on all Americans to mask up.”

Host Chuck Todd asked Klain if there had been any contact, formal or informal, between the White House coronavirus task force and Biden’s transition team.

Klain stated that Biden’s team was currently unable to make any contact with the White House’s task force.

“We can’t until we get that GSA ascertainment that authorizes us to contact government officials. And so, we can’t have any of those kinds of contacts until we get to that stage of ascertainment. Obviously, there’s information that passes in scientific circles. The people on our task force, like Dr. [Michael] Osterholm, are leading scientists,” said Klain.


Tags Biden transition Chuck Todd Chuck Todd Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden Joe Biden Meet the Press Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi operation warp speed Ron Klain Vivek Murthy

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