The White House stuck to its positions on Monday, signifying its refusal to see its bailout for the economy cut by three, as demanded by moderate Republicans.
Joe Biden met for two hours on Monday with a group of ten opposition senators, who presented him with an alternative bill for $ 618 billion.
“While there are points of agreement, the president reiterated his view that Congress must respond boldly and urgently,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday evening, in a press release.
Joe Biden also “noted many areas that the proposal of the Republican senators does not address,” she added with reference to the absence of measures in favor of the states or that concerning the doubling of the amount of the federal minimum wage .
“Clearly”, the president “thinks that the size of the plan must be closer” to the envelope he proposed, she added.
She also stressed that this meeting would not be “a forum to develop or accept an offer”, but “an opportunity to exchange ideas”.
“It was a very good exchange of views,” responded Susan Collins, a moderate Republican senator, after two hours of meeting that she described as “excellent”.
“I wouldn’t say we managed to agree […] tonight “, she added, while stressing that” nobody expected it “.
She also said she was “hopeful” of an agreement between the two parties.
According to Jen Psaki, Joe Biden also hopes to pass the bill “with bipartisan support.”
Agreement or forced passage?
But he told senators that if that was not possible, he would use the “reconciliation” device allowing a simple majority vote.
Rallying these 10 moderate Republicans would however be a victory for the Democrats, who could then vote for the text according to the usual procedure, which requires 60 votes out of 100.
Mme Collins appeared to take a step forward saying they shared concerns about the country’s socioeconomic situation.
However, the Biden administration is preparing for the possibility of failure: the Democratic President of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, have thus announced that they have taken a step forward in the adoption of the other procedure, allowing a simple majority.
This negotiation constitutes a test for the Democratic president, who has constantly put forward his desire to govern in a spirit of openness.
However, the president reiterated Monday that he wanted to act quickly to respond to “the urgency” of the situation, said his spokesperson.
Among the flagship measures of the president revised downwards by the Republicans: the checks paid to the Americans.
“My rescue plan will get us out of the depths of these health and economic crises”, Joe Biden defended Monday morning on Twitter.
Then, the growth forecasts released Monday by the Congressional Budget Services (CBO) came to stir up trouble.
If employment will not return to its pre-crisis level before 2024, the growth of gross domestic product will return to its pre-pandemic level from the middle of 2021, estimates the CBO.
What to comfort the Republicans opposed to opening the budgetary floodgates because of an already colossal debt.
Those elected officials, including former White House candidate Mitt Romney and Ohio Senator Rob Portman, argue that billions of dollars from previous plans have yet to be used.
Another signatory, Bill Cassidy, had, on Sunday, explained on Fox News the reasons not to put the hand to the pot for the public schools.
“Reopening public schools is not about money,” he said. The teachers, pushed by their unions, “do not want to come back to work,” he added.
In March 2020, Congress urgently voted on a $ 2,200 billion plan to deal with the economic shock caused by COVID-19.
Then, despite the expiration of emergency aid from the summer, it was not until the last days of December to vote for a new plan of $ 900 billion.
Economists agree that the late adoption of this plan had contributed to the slowdown in the economic recovery, especially since the pandemic started again in the fall.
The COVID-19 crisis caused the worst recession since 1946 last year and exposed glaring social and racial inequalities.