Their comments raise the stakes for the Biden administration’s outreach to lawmakers, amid discussions about a potential weekend meeting.
“We just passed a program with over $900 billion in it,” Romney told reporters shortly after Biden’s inauguration. “I’m not looking for a new program in the immediate future.”
Murkowski said she doesn’t disagree with Biden that another round of help for an ailing economy is needed. Still, she said, it’s going to take some time to consider it.
“The ink is just barely dry on the $900 billion, and what the president is proposing is significant -- $1.9 trillion,” said Murkowski. “It’s going to require, I think, a fair amount of of debate and consideration.”
Biden’s team already is reaching out to members of the influential self-described “gang” of lawmakers from both parties that helped nudge leaders toward completing the last pandemic plan by producing one of their own. Murkowski said she’s been briefed by Biden aides about the newly installed president’s proposal.
There will be more meetings between the new administration and lawmakers of both parties, White House Press Secretary
“We hope, and frankly we expect, Republicans in Congress – and Democrats too – will support assistance that will bring relief to the people they represent,” Psaki said. “This is a conversation; he’s already had a number of conversations with Democrats and Republicans, those will continue.
“We’re going to be meeting with them probably this weekend,” Manchin told reporters.
Biden’s proposal, offered last week, is the opening salvo in a legislative fight that could be prolonged by the go-big price tag and the inclusion of initiatives -- like a minimum-wage increase -- that are opposed by most Republicans.
With the Senate now a 50-50 partisan split, Biden will need at least 10 Republicans to speed his plan through that chamber. Alternatively, Senate Majority Leader
“Even to get 50 Democrats on board, my guess is that number has to come down,”
In his first remarks on the Senate floor as majority leader, Schumer vowed to move the chamber toward more “energetic” and “bold” solutions and pointed toward Biden’s goal of moving another pandemic relief package.
“The Senate will tackle the perils of the moment, the once-in-a-generation health and economic crisis,” he said, as well as other Biden initiatives that include better income equality. He also made a plea for bipartisanship. “The Senate works best when we work together.”
The senators in Manchin’s group also include Democrats
“The best thing that could happen to president is for that bipartisan group to get back together and come back with a proposal,” said Republican Senator
Senate GOP leader
Negotiations could end up producing a smaller bipartisan package in the coming weeks, followed by a larger budget bill later in the year with Democratic priorities. Biden said he plans to unveil a second major economic program, aimed at longer-term economic rebuilding, at a joint session of Congress next month.
Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary,
(Updates with Psaki comment, beginning in the eighth paragraph. A previous version corrected the day of lawmaker quotes in the second paragraph.)
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