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Biden’s team prepares boost for new COVID relief bill, expected to cost trillions



President-elect Joe Biden’s economic relief package is expected to cost trillions, and on Tuesday officials in transition briefed Democratic congressional officials on his priorities for the massive stimulus bill, two sources told CBS News.

Elements of the package that Mr. Biden considered “critical” include incentive payments of $ 2,000 for Americans, more money for cities and states to boost their response to COVID-19 and improve the spread of vaccines and provide more funding for schools.

Mr Biden also wants to see another extension and increase in increased unemployment insurance payments, which were extended last month and are now expected to continue until mid-March.

How will Biden persuade Congress to pass this bill?

Biden̵

7;s White House is seeking bilateral support for its COVID relief package, which could mean significant changes in legislation to attract more Republican support. This goal was also announced to congressional aides on Tuesday.

If Mr. Biden fails to reach a deal with Republicans in the Senate, that package could go through a process of reconciliation, a process that is sometimes used for spending. Under this approach, the bill will require only a simple majority for adoption and will not be blocked by a filibuster. Most Senate bills require 60 votes to overcome the treasure. This option will be used by crossing the framework of Biden’s team with only democratic votes. Once the results of the Senate election in Georgia are confirmed, there will be a split between 50 and 50 between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will sever all ties. With Harris as the 51st vote, Democrats will control the Senate.

President-elect Biden is expected to outline his proposal to ease COVID on Thursday. A Biden transition official did not respond Wednesday when asked for comment.

This legislation is likely to face intense lobbying by members of Congress and special interests, which could affect the final price.

Some pieces of legislation, such as the $ 2,000 incentive payments for Americans, already have bilateral support. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter Tuesday asking Mr. Biden to include the larger checks. The president-elect has been calling for $ 2,000 in checks for weeks and is campaigning in Georgia ahead of the Jan. 5 Senate runoff election.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a 15-page letter to Biden transition officials leading COVID-19’s response, calling for greater oversight of the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Warren wants to see increased data collection and reporting in places with frequent COVID-19 clusters, including life support centers and health clinics.

The incoming administration wants to contribute to the legislation from state and local leaders. Biden officials have been in “listening mode” with various cabinets to receive their assessments of COVID-19’s response from the federal government. “We have a different sense of urgency from the previous administration in dealing with this, and they are active in working with the states,” an employee in the Democratic governor’s office told CBS News.

Appointed Secretary of Health and Humanitarian Services Xavier Betzera, along with Dr. Vivek Murtie, nominated surgeon general, and COVID Task Force Chief of Staff Dr. Marcela Nunes-Smith, also recently met with a dozen leaders who combined leading religious groups with tens of millions of members to discuss a fair federal response in color communities.

Two participants in the meeting told CBS News that the group discussed using faith-based hospitals and clinics to increase access and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in places with “pharmacy deserts.” Specific plans to reach Americans skeptical of the vaccine were not outlined by Biden’s team, two religious leaders told CBS News, but both said they were encouraged by the discussion.

A religious leader told CBS News that his network plans to lobby Biden’s team to expand children’s tax credits.


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