Chris Coons and Sen.
(CNN)President Joe Biden said at the start of his administration that family conflicts of interest would not be tolerated in his White House, but not two weeks into his presidency, his brother's actions as a part of his employment at a law firm in Florida are raising questions about how he'll implement that pledge. The cornerstone of the GOP plan is $160 billion for the health care response - vaccine distribution, a "massive expansion" of testing, protective gear and money for rural hospitals, similar to what Biden has proposed for aid specific to the pandemic.
His assumption came after Democrats in the Senate voted 50-to-49 to advance the budget resolution, inching closer to passing Joe Biden's almost $2 trillion bill.
A Republican plan would substantially lower the income eligibility threshold for the next round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
"We can better target the number, I'm ok with that", Biden told House Democrats, according to multiple sources on the call.
But Biden also made clear that he would not shrink the overall size of his package to meet GOP demands.
McConnell said Republicans attempted to reach across the aisle Monday when a group of 10 senators met with Biden to propose their almost $620 billion bill. Already, the Biden team has been working with aides to Sen.
"We have to get this done". He noted he spoke with Biden about the process.
The Senate began debating its budget bill Tuesday, which is expected to take the bulk of the week, and the House is expected to approve its version Wednesday evening. Democrats are confident they have the votes to adopt the budget, though there is some lingering anxiety among several moderate Blue Dog Democrats that the party should move other smaller relief bills as they wade into the thornier process known as reconciliation.
At one point on the call before Biden joined, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee interrupted the broader policy discussion to ask about redistricting. Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself interjected and steered the conversation back to the coronavirus relief bill, urging the caucus to "pass the budget bill with complete unity", according to multiple people on the call.
The House vote will be matched later this week by a vote in the Senate.
A group of 10 Republican senators offered a $618 billion alternative with slimmer $1,000 direct payments and zero aid for states and cities, but Biden panned it as insufficient, though private talks with the Republicans continue. Biden made the remark as he met in the Oval Office with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the Senate committee chairs who will be responsible for writing the actual relief legislation.
"If it's $1.9 trillion, so be it", Manchin said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, Schumer said, "Our caucus is eager to discuss next steps, and we are united in our resolve to deliver a rescue plan that delivers the American people the relief they so desperately need". I think we've got a V-shaped recovery [happening].
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans will be waiting with a "host of amendments" to the budget measure, including provisions on whether "taxpayers should fund checks for illegal immigrants" and whether "Democrats should raise taxes on small businesses".
But most Republicans are opposed to spending almost another $2 trillion after devoting some $4 trillion to fighting the pandemic through a series of five bipartisan bills past year, including a $900 billion measure passed in December. The monthly jobs report for January will be released on Friday, providing a snapshot of the American economy that could bolster or deflate Biden's push for a large stimulus package.