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Biden unlikely to drop price tag of COVID-19 stimulus to meet GOP request, WH says ahead of meeting

President Joe Biden
Posted at 9:17 AM, Feb 01, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said that while President Joe Biden will meet with a group of Republican lawmakers regarding COVID-19 stimulus, it's unlikely that the meeting will produce a deal.

Psaki said that while Biden remains committed to bipartisanship and looks forward to an "exchange of ideas" regarding COVID-19 stimulus, Monday's meeting likely won't be an opportunity for the president to "make or accept an offer."

Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that would extend unemployment benefits and offer $1,400 to most American families. Republicans, concerned about the expense of Biden's bill, have offered a more modest $600 billion package that would slim many of the benefits.

Though Biden has preached unity in the early days of his presidency, Psaki indicated that he is unlikely to substantially negotiate down from his position.

"The risk is not that [the cost] is too big, this package, the risk is that it is too small and that remains [the president's] view and it is one he will express today," Psaki said.

Despite Biden's call for bipartisanship, Democratic lawmakers in recent days have said they plan to move forward with the bill without the support of Republicans if needed.

In public comments since his election and inauguration, Biden has preached unity and working across the aisle. However, in the early days of his presidency, Biden has relied heavily on executive action as a means of undoing policies put in place by the Trump administration.

Psaki was also asked about the apparent coup attempt in Myanmar. Psaki reiterated that actions by the country's military actions have prompted an "immediate" review to determine whether the administration could re-apply economic sanctions to the country.

Finally, Psaki said the Biden administration remains in touch with both the city of Chicago and the local teacher's union, who are threatening to strike ahead of a return to in-person learning. Psaki said the Biden administration remains "hopeful" that a deal could be reached.