The White House stuck to its positions on Monday, signifying its refusal to have its $ 1.9 trillion economy bailout cut by three, as moderate Republicans demand. Joe Biden met for two hours on Monday with a group of ten opposition senators, who presented him with a $ 618 billion alternative project.
“Although there are points of agreement, the president reiterated his view that Congress must respond boldly and urgently,” Jen Psaki, White House spokeswoman, said on Monday evening. a statement. Joe Biden further “noted many areas that the Republican senators’ proposal does not address,” she added, referring to the absence of measures in favor of the states or that concerning the doubling of the amount of the federal minimum wage .
“Clearly, the president thinks that the size of the plan must be closer” to the envelope he proposed, Jen Psaki also stressed earlier during a press briefing. She then indicated that this meeting would not be “a forum to accept an offer”, but “an opportunity to exchange ideas”.
The text needs 60 votes out of 100
“It was a very good exchange of views”, reacted for her part Susan Collins, one of the senators who submitted the counter-proposal. “I would not say that we managed to come to an agreement (…) this evening”, she added, while stressing that “nobody expected it”. She also said she was optimistic about an agreement between the two parties. The senators then issued a statement in the evening noting a “very productive exchange of views”, assuring that they would continue to discuss with the Biden administration and other senators “in the coming days” to reach an agreement. bipartisan.
But he signaled to senators that if that was not possible, he would use the reconciliation device allowing a simple majority vote. Rallying these 10 moderate Republicans would however be a victory for the Democrats who could then vote for the text according to the usual procedure which requires 60 votes out of 100.
Susan Collins appeared to take a step forward saying they shared concerns about the country’s socio-economic situation. However, the Biden administration is preparing for the possibility of failure: Democratic President of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer have thus announced that they have reached a milestone in the adoption of the another procedure, allowing a simple majority. This negotiation constitutes a test for the Democratic president who has constantly put forward his desire to govern in a spirit of openness.
“My rescue plan will get us out of the depths of these crises”
The president reiterated Monday that he wanted to act quickly to respond to the urgency of the situation, his spokesperson said. Among its flagship measures, revised downwards by the Republicans: the checks paid to the Americans. “My rescue plan will get us out of the depths of these health and economic crises”, Joe Biden defended Monday morning on Twitter. Then, the growth forecasts released Monday by the Congressional Budget Services (CBO) came to stir up trouble. While employment will not return to its pre-crisis level before 2024, growth in gross domestic product will return to its pre-pandemic level by mid-2021, estimates the CBO.
What to comfort the Republicans opposed to opening the budgetary floodgates because of an already colossal debt. Those elected officials, including former White House candidate Mitt Romney and Ohio Senator Rob Portman, argue that billions of dollars from previous plans have yet to be used. Another signatory, Bill Cassidy, had, on Sunday, explained on Fox News the reasons not to put the hand to the pot for the public schools. “Reopening public schools is not about money,” he said. “The teachers, pushed by their unions, do not want to come back to work,” he added.
In March 2020, Congress urgently voted for a $ 2.2 trillion plan to deal with the economic shock caused by the Covid. Then, despite the expiration of emergency aid from the summer, it was not until the last days of December to vote for a new plan of 900 billion dollars.
Economists agree that the late adoption of this plan had contributed to the slowdown in the economic recovery, especially since the pandemic started again in the fall. The Covid-19 crisis caused the worst recession since 1946 last year and exposed glaring social and racial inequalities.