Biden Spokeswoman Says Stimulus ‘Designed’ to Draw GOP Support

President Joe Biden’s press secretary said his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill was written to draw votes from both parties, though congressional Republicans have expressed little enthusiasm for the measure.

“We feel like this package is designed for bipartisan support,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing on Thursday.

Several moderate Republicans in the Senate have already expressed public misgivings about the plan, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Biden’s proposal includes a slew of enhancements to the U.S. social safety net, such as increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and a substantial expansion of family and medical leave.

Romney has cited the $900 billion stimulus package passed last month for his hesitancy to support Biden’s plan. “I’m not looking for a new program in the immediate future,” he said Wednesday.

Other Republicans have been more critical, calling the proposal a collection of liberal wish-list items.

Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, called Biden’s plan “senseless” and a “colossal waste.”

Biden would need all Democrats and at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to pass the plan over an expected GOP filibuster. In a briefing Wednesday, Psaki would not rule out using a procedure called “budget reconciliation” to avoid a filibuster and pass at least part of the bill with only a majority vote.

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