SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Biden still seeking bipartisan Covid-19 relief package despite stalemate

President Joe Biden is continuing to chase a bipartisan deal over his...

Posted: Jan 28, 2021 12:20 PM

President Joe Biden is continuing to chase a bipartisan deal over his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, but White House officials privately acknowledge the bill will need to be pared down to secure Republican support after GOP lawmakers balked at the price tag.

It's not clear how much the White House will be willing to lower the price tag and whether that will be enough to secure Republican support. And even as they acknowledge that reality, Biden administration officials and congressional Democrats are increasingly skeptical a bipartisan deal can be reached. Several key Republican senators are also raising questions about whether the White House is serious about a bipartisan deal.

Biden has repeatedly said a bipartisan deal is his preference, but his aides have also stressed the urgent need for economic relief and the new Democratic majority in the Senate is considering a rare procedural tactic known as reconciliation to jam major parts of the legislation through along party lines. Sources said the reality of the White House's economic team and congressional Democrats pressing for speed and scale has started to settle in on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"We are at a moment where we need decisive action," National Economic Council director Brian Deese said on CNBC this week. "We need to move quickly, and we need to move comprehensively."

While Biden is willing to consider less than $1.9 trillion in relief, White House officials made clear they are not interested in splitting up the legislation -- getting a bipartisan vote on some aspect and then passing a separate package along party lines using reconciliation.

"The needs of the American people are urgent from putting food on the table, to getting vaccines out the door to reopening schools. Those aren't partisan issues. We are engaging with a range of voices -- that's democracy in action -- we aren't looking to split a package in two," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Biden was asked Thursday at the White House if he believes getting Covid-19 relief passed would require breaking up the legislation.

"No one requires me to do anything," Biden told reporters with a smile.

A senior administration official told CNN the White House still considers every component of the bill "essential."

"What we're still reiterating with members and with groups is that these different components -- the economic assistance, money for vaccinations ... are all essential," a senior administration official said.

Republicans have been largely critical of Biden's legislative push, and many have signaled they can't support a Covid-19 relief package that costs nearly $2 trillion just a month after they passed a $900 billion bill.

In a private Senate GOP conference call Wednesday several key Republican senators -- including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio -- expressed concern with the direction of the White House on the relief plan and raised questions about whether Biden's team was really serious about a bipartisan deal, according to two people familiar with the call.

A senior administration official said the White House is most willing to reconfigure the stimulus checks to make them more targeted and lowering the income cap, something Collins and other Republicans involved in the discussions have raised. In private discussions, Biden has "expressed an openness to narrowing the targeting" of the stimulus check program.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are "engaged directly with members and have had a number of productive conversations through the course of the week," which will "pick up in the days ahead," Psaki said at Wednesday's press briefing.

Biden, Psaki noted, will be meeting with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other members of his economic team on Friday to discuss the relief package, among other topics.

Deese and Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus coordinator, are joining the Senate Democratic caucus call on Thursday to brief senators on the Covid-19 relief package, according to a source familiar. Deese is leading White House outreach on the $1.9 trillion package as the administration continues to weigh whether bipartisan talks will yield anything substantive.

In addition to that call, Deese and Zients have "several other" scheduled briefings with members of Congress, Psaki said on Wednesday. White House chief of staff Ron Klain and senior adviser Anita Dunn are also speaking with members of Congress, Psaki said, and will continue to do so.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
Medford
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: °
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 53°
Crater Lake
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: °
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: °
Klamath Falls
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Isolated Wednesday thunderstorms, weekend heat wave
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events