Joe Biden first signaled that he was prepared to make concessions on his $ 1.9 billion economic relief package, suggesting he was prepared to lower the income threshold for another round of checks from revival.
Speaking on Monday afternoon, the US president suggested his administration may be willing to respond to demands from centrist lawmakers who want to reduce the $ 1.9 billion price tag of the White House plan, which is the top priority. legislation of the new administration.
One way to lower the cost of the bill would be to make personal payments of $ 1,400 – the centerpiece of the package – accessible to fewer high-income Americans. As it is, Americans who earn up to $ 75,000 a year are eligible for payouts, before they are gradually reduced as you earn.
“People have legitimate reasons for saying, ‘Did you draw the lines exactly the right way? Should it go to anyone who earns more than “X” dollars? I’m open to negotiating these things, ”Biden said.
The White House has stepped up talks with lawmakers in recent days, as Democrats push for a deal before opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial against Donald Trump February 9.
National Economic Council director Brian Deese met with a group of mostly moderate Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Sunday, who pushed the White House to reduce the scope of the budget plan to facilitate a deal.
Some Republicans are also urging the White House to drop its insistence that a federal minimum wage of $ 15 an hour should be part of the deal.
Democrats said that if they couldn’t come to an agreement on a bipartisan basis, they would be prepared to use a parliamentary procedure called “budget reconciliation” to approve the bill through a simple majority vote online.
But even that would require compromise, given the presence of some economically conservative Democrats in the upper house of Congress, like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.
On Monday afternoon, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the need for a relief deal was urgent in part because the impact of a $ 900 billion package passed in December would start to fade in March with the expiration of federal unemployment benefits. .
“There is an urgent need for the American people to move this package forward because we are going to hit a cliff. . . in March, when millions of people will not be able to access unemployment insurance. We will reach a point where we will not have enough funding for vaccine distribution, ”said Ms. Psaki.