House votes to speed stimulus passage after Biden meets with Dems


The House took the first step toward pushing Biden’s relief package through Congress without GOP support.

President Joe Biden met with Democrats on Wednesday as the House took its first step toward passing his sprawling $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package through Congress without any Republican help.

The lower chamber approved a budget measure in 218-212vote, directing a dozen committees to start drafting the pieces of Biden’s bill, including $1,400 stimulus checks, $350 billion in state and local aid and more controversial provisions, like a $15 minimum wage hike.

Biden told Democrats earlier on Wednesday that he’s open to refining key elements of his nearly $2 trillion proposal, while stressing the urgency of delivering a massive relief bill quickly to the pandemic-stricken nation.

During a call with the House Democratic Caucus, Biden said he was willing to compromise on who will be eligible for the next round stimulus checks — but remained firm on the size of the $1,400 payment, according to multiple sources on the call.

“Let’s stick together, I have your back and I hope you’ll have mine,” Biden told House Democrats in his first meeting with the group since taking office. He made an emotional case for quick action, citing the alarming rate of suicides and worsening drug addictions amid the pandemic.

The budget measure passed by the House unlocks a thorny process, known as reconciliation, that Democrats can use to avoid the legislative filibuster in the Senate and pass Biden’s pandemic aid vision with a simple majority in the upper chamber.

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