Biden Tells Republicans That He Won’t Accept Their Watered-Down COVID Proposal

Last updated on July 18th, 2023 at 12:30 pm

President Joe Biden met with a group of 10 Republicans at the White House on Monday to discuss COVID relief legislation, but he quickly made it clear following the meeting that he won’t settle for a watered-down GOP proposal.

The White House called the meeting “productive” and recommitted itself to working with Republicans going forward, but emphasized that they will reject any proposal that doesn’t adequately address the public health and economic crises facing the country.

“[Biden] will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response, and will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment,” the White House said.

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The full statement:

The President and the Vice President had a substantive and productive discussion with Republican senators this evening at the White House. The group shared a desire to get help to the American people, who are suffering through the worst health and economic crisis in a generation.

While there were areas of agreement, the President also reiterated his view that Congress must respond boldly and urgently, and noted many areas which the Republican senators’ proposal does not address. He reiterated that while he is hopeful that the Rescue Plan can pass with bipartisan support, a reconciliation package is a path to achieve that end. The President also made clear that the American Rescue Plan was carefully designed to meet the stakes of this moment, and any changes in it cannot leave the nation short of its pressing needs.

The President expressed his hope that the group could continue to discuss ways to strengthen the American Rescue Plan as it moves forward, and find areas of common ground — including work on small business support and nutrition programs. He reiterated, however, that he will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response, and will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment.

The American people want results

While Joe Biden continues to make genuine efforts to cross the aisle – something Donald Trump never did – he clearly recognizes the unprecedented nature of the crises he inherited.

Biden and his team have also learned the lessons of the Obama years, when Democrats spent valuable time chasing after Republican votes for major pieces of legislation, just to be left hanging high and dry.

As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said on Monday night, “[Democrats] remember what happened the last time they were in this situation in 2009, and they are not going to let what happened under President Obama happen again this time.”

More than anything else, the American people want results, especially at a time when so many people are suffering. The White House clearly recognizes that.

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