President Biden’s COVID aid package meets divided Senate

D.C. Bureau

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid package is in the final stretch on Capitol Hill and moving closer to a vote in a divided Senate.

Senate Democrats made some last-minute tweaks to the bill on Wednesday trying to keep Democratic members on board. But Republicans remain united against the package.

“It’s a Washington special. You call it something that’s popular and then you stick a bunch of things into it that you couldn’t otherwise pass,” Sen. Marco Rubio said.

In a new article he published on the website Medium, the Florida Republican said, “Biden’s COVID bill fails America.”

“There’s money for vaccines and schools and businesses and testing; how does it fail America?” Washington Correspondent Kellie Meyer asked Rubio in a one-on-one interview on Wednesday.

“Because that’s only a small portion of the broader bill,” Rubio responded. “It’s not a COVID bill.”

Republicans say a majority of the $1.9 trillion package doesn’t have anything to do with the pandemic and are encouraging Democrats to work with them on a targeted bill.

President Biden has said he wants the package to be bipartisan. But right now, no Republicans support it and some Democrats are unsure about portions of the bill.

The White House and Senate democrats agreed Wednesday to tighten income limits on the $1,400 stimulus checks. That move that could get more Democrats on board with the deal.

“He’s hopeful all Democrats can get behind,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown says Democrats stand together on the package.

“I think there is Democratic unanimity,” Sen. Brown said.

Brown and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., are calling for urgent passage of the bill that also expands the earned income and child tax credits.

“I submit that it’s the moral thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” Sen. Warnock said.

Brown said the bill could pass the Senate before the end of the week.

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