WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As coronavirus cases surge across the nation, President-elect Joe Biden told frontline healthcare workers Wednesday they will be his administration’s top priority.
“It’s not enough to praise you, we have to protect you, we have to pay you,” he said.
Biden charged that Republicans are the reason talks regarding additional relief for frontline workers have been stalled.
“The reason why my friends on the other side have not stepped up to do something is because of their fear of retribution from the president and hopefully when he’s gone they’ll be willing to do what they know needs to be done,” Biden said.
President Donald Trump has continued to withhold cooperation toward a peaceful transition of power that would ensure a seamless response to the pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said getting the virus under control is the only way to get the country back on track.
“It’s outrageous that the Trump administration has refused to provide the president-elect with high level intelligence briefings, or brief the transition on the vaccine distribution plan,” Schumer, D-New York, said. “The country wants us to come together and get something done to deal with this COVID crisis.”
Senate Democrats and Republicans remain deadlocked over how much relief is needed.
“I’m open to a targeted bill, roughly of the amount that we recommended, a half a trillion dollars, which is not nothing,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.
But Biden said he’s optimistic he can secure more relief once he’s in office.