The Morning Call

Bi­den push­ing for COVID-19 re­lief

Pres­i­dent-elect vows to work with GOP on an aid bill

- By Steve Peo­ples US Elections · U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Joe Biden · Wilmington, DE · Delaware · Congress of the United States · Nancy Pelosi · California · United States Senate · Charles Schumer · New York · Wilmington · Kamala Harris · Oval Office · Mitch McConnell · Republican Party (United States) · Kentucky · Steven Mnuchin · Mark Meadows · Democratic Party (United States) · Donald Trump · United States Department of Health and Human Services · Alex Azar · The Early Show · Michigan · United States of America · Georgia · Brad Raffensperger · Partido Libertario de los Estados Unidos · Jo Jorgensen · Brian P. Kemp · National Governors Association

WILM­ING­TON, Del. — Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Bi­den is call­ing on Congress to en­act bil­lions of dol­lars in emer­gency COVID-19 as­sis­tance be­fore the year’s end, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior ad­viser who warned Fri­day that “there’s no more room for de­lay.”

Bi­den tran­si­tion aide Jen Psaki de­liv­ered the re­marks be­fore Bi­den’s first in-per­son meet­ing since win­ning the elec­tion with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Se­nate mi­nor­ity leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The in­com­ing Demo­cratic pres­i­dent hosted them at his makeshift tran­si­tion head­quar­ters in a down­town Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware, the­ater.

Bi­den, who turned 78 Fri­day, sat with Schumer, Pelosi and Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Ka­mala Har­ris, all wear­ing masks and spaced out around a bank of ta­bles.

“In my Oval Of­fice, mi casa, you casa,” Bi­den said dur­ing the brief por­tion of the meet­ing that jour­nal­ists were al­lowed to wit­ness. “I hope we’re go­ing to spend a lot of time to­gether.”

Pelosi said at an ear­lier news con­fer­ence that she and Schumer would be talk­ing with Bi­den about “the ur­gency of crush­ing the virus,” as well as how to use the lame-duck ses­sion of Congress, leg­is­la­tion on keep­ing the gov­ern­ment funded and COVID-19 re­lief.

But prospects for new virus aid this year re­main un­cer­tain. Pelosi said talks with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell and GOP lead­er­ship on Thurs­day did not pro­duce any con­sen­sus on a new virus aid pack­age.

“That didn’t hap­pen, but hope­fully it will,” she said.

Also Fri­day, Mc­Connell, a Ken­tucky Repub­li­can, pro­posed that Congress shift $455 bil­lion of un­spent small-busi­ness lend­ing funds to­ward a new COVID-19 aid pack­age. His of­fer came af­ter a meet­ing with Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Mead­ows.

Bi­den’s new gov­ern­ing team is fac­ing in­tense pres­sure to ap­prove another COVID-19 re­lief bill and come up with a clear plan to dis­trib­ute mil­lions of doses of a prospectiv­e vac­cine, even as Bi­den is just days away from un­veil­ing the first of his Cab­i­net picks, which are sub­ject

to Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Psaki said that Bi­den, Pelosi and Schumer are al­ready work­ing to­gether to push for a pan­demic re­lief bill be­fore Congress ad­journs for the year.

“They’re in lock­step agree­ment that there needs to be emer­gency as­sis­tance and aid dur­ing the lame-duck ses­sion to help fam­i­lies, to help small busi­nesses,” Psaki said. “There’s no more room for de­lay, and we need to move for­ward as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

The pres­i­dent-elect has also promised to work closely with Repub­li­cans in Congress to ex­e­cute his gov­ern­ing agenda, but so far, he has fo­cused his con­gres­sional out­reach on his lead

ing Demo­cratic al­lies.

The meet­ing came two days af­ter House Democrats nom­i­nated Pelosi to be the speaker who guides them again next year as Bi­den be­comes pres­i­dent, though she seemed to sug­gest these would be her fi­nal two years in the lead­er­ship post.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­tin­ues to block a smooth tran­si­tion of power to the next pres­i­dent, re­fus­ing to al­low his administra­tion to co­op­er­ate with Bi­den’s tran­si­tion team. Specif­i­cally, the Trump administra­tion is deny­ing Bi­den ac­cess to de­tailed brief­ings on na­tional se­cu­rity and pan­demic plan­ning that lead­ers in both par­ties say are im­por­tant for pre­par­ing Bid

en to gov­ern im­me­di­ately af­ter his Jan. 20 in­au­gu­ra­tion.

Try­ing to by­pass the Trump administra­tion al­to­gether, Bi­den on Thurs­day met vir­tu­ally with a col­lec­tion of lead­ing Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic gov­er­nors.

“Un­for­tu­nately, my administra­tion hasn’t been able to get ev­ery­thing we need,” Bi­den told the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion’s lead­er­ship team as he vowed to rise above pol­i­tics in a uni­fied front against the virus. “There’s a real de­sire for real part­ner­ship be­tween the states and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

Cur­rent Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Alex Azar said Fri­day on “CBS This Morn­ing” that Bi­den’s charge that the tran­si­tion de­lays would cost Amer­i­can lives is “ab­so­lutely in­cor­rect.”

“Every as­pect of what we do is com­pletely trans­par­ent — no secret data or knowl­edge,” Azar said.

Trump, mean­while, is in­ten­si­fy­ing his at­tempts to sow doubt on the elec­tion re­sults. The out­go­ing pres­i­dent’s un­prece­dented cam­paign to spread mis­in­for­ma­tion now in­cludes pres­sur­ing Michi­gan of­fi­cials to block the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of their state’s elec­tion re­sults.

Bi­den won Michi­gan by more than 150,000 votes, a mar­gin 15 times larger than Trump’s vic­tory in the state four years ago.

Elec­tion law ex­perts see Trump’s push as the last, dy­ing gasps of his cam­paign and say Bi­den is cer­tain to walk into the Oval Of­fice come Jan­uary. But there is great con­cern that Trump’s ef­fort is do­ing real dam­age to pub­lic faith in the in­tegrity of U.S. elec­tions.

Also Fri­day, Ge­or­gia’s gover­nor and top elec­tions of­fi­cial cer­ti­fied re­sults show­ing Bi­den won the pres­i­den­tial race over Trump.

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion brings the state one step closer to wrap­ping up an elec­tion that has been fraught with un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions of fraud by Trump and his sup­port­ers.

Sec­re­tary of State Brad Raf­fensperger cer­ti­fied re­sults re­ported by the state’s 159 coun­ties fol­low­ing a hand count of the 5 mil­lion bal­lots cast in the race. The re­sults show Bi­den with 2.47 mil­lion votes, Trump with 2.46 mil­lion votes and Lib­er­tar­ian Jo Jor­gensen with 62,138. That leaves Bi­den lead­ing by a mar­gin of 12,670 votes or 0.25%.

Later in the day, Repub­li­can Gov. Brian Kemp cer­ti­fied the state’s slate of 16 pres­i­den­tial elec­tors, his spokesman Cody Hall said.

 ?? ANNA MONEYMAKER/THE NEW YORK TIMES ?? Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Bi­den meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Fri­day at The Queen the­ater in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware.
ANNA MONEYMAKER/THE NEW YORK TIMES Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Bi­den meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Fri­day at The Queen the­ater in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware.

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