Biden urges Congress to pass Democrats’ COVID-19 relief package
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday urged Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package, touting legislation House Democrats passed earlier this year that is opposed by Republicans.
“Right now, Congress should come together and pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed six months ago,” Biden said during remarks in Wilmington, Del. “Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before.”
House Democrats passed a $3 trillion version of the HEROES Act in May and passed a $2.2 trillion, slimmed-down version of the package in October. Both versions of the package include money for state and local governments, enhanced unemployment benefits, and a second round of stimulus payments.
Republicans have criticized the Democratic packages, arguing that they are too expensive.
Biden urged Democrats and Republicans to work together, saying he thinks the public wants politicians to cooperate.
“The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a conscious decision. It’s a choice that we make,” he said. “If we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.”
Biden spoke about the economy as the number of coronavirus cases has been increasing across the country.
“We’re going into a very dark winter,” he said. “Things are going to get much tougher before they get easier.”
Biden said he spoke to business and labor leaders earlier in the day and that there was agreement about the need for affordable health care for people who have lost their coverage or are in danger of losing it, sick leave and family leave, support for small businesses, and funding for state and local governments.