By MICHELLE STODDART, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is Day 27 of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding Monday. All times Eastern:
Feb 15, 11:13 am
Republicans across country support for Biden COVID relief plan, White House aide says
White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond said this morning that Biden has gotten support from Republicans across the country for his COVID relief plan — even if GOP members of Congress in Washington are balking, especially at the projected cost.
“We have many Republican mayors, we have Republican governors, we have more than 50% of Republicans in this country, 46% of Trump supporters. There is just one place we don’t have anybody who has signed on yet and that’s in the United States Congress, but we are still working every day to see if we can earn Republican support for the plan. But what we won’t do is slow down and not meet the needs of the American people by just waiting, whether it’s obstruction or just inertia, President Biden is not willing to wait,” Richmond said on CNN.
Richmond argued that past COVID-19 plans have been reactionary, but Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris want to “get in front of it,” with the nearly $2 trillion package they’ve proposed.
“We’re going to keep moving on in a bipartisan manner, but we are not going to fail the American people,” he added.
Richmond dodged a question when pressed on the fate of the $15 dollar federal minimum wage in the bill, given that both Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., have said they would not vote for COVID-19 relief that included the increase.
“We will [what] happens in the Senate, because Senator Sanders is pushing it. We know that there is some reluctance, but look, that’s not the real question. The real question is why do people in this country, why do we think it’s okay people go to work for 40 hours week and still make less than the poverty level? That should not be acceptable in this country. If you work 40 hours a week, you should be able to sustain your family,” Richmond said. “So that’s where we are focused on.”
Feb 15, 9:57 am
Biden says ‘encouraging’ that Congress moving on COVID relief
President Biden, who largely steered clear of the Trump impeachment trial, will push full-steam ahead this week with a focus on his COVID-19 relief plan now that the trial is no longer capturing the national spotlight.
Today, on the first day of a move previously announced by his administration, Biden has put out a statement urging Americans to take advantage of a special three-month enrollment period to help those who lost their health insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden also made a point to reference the $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan in the statement, saying that it is “encouraging” to see Congress moving on the plan that will “also take big steps to lower health costs and expand access to care for all Americans, including those who have lost their jobs.”
“It will increase federal subsidies and decrease premiums in order to ensure that no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income to purchase meaningful and comprehensive health coverage. And it incentivizes states to expand coverage to an additional four million people with low incomes, and provides states the opportunity to extend coverage for a year to low-income women who have recently given birth,” Biden said.
This week, he’ll make his first two official trips domestically, taking part in a CNN town hall in Wisconsin on Tuesday, and heading to a Michigan Pfizer manufacturing facility on Thursday. Biden will also attend a virtual G-7 meeting on Friday where COVID is expected to be a topic of discussion, and virtually address the Munich Security Conference.
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