NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The White House says Louisiana residents, local first responders, and frontline health care workers will benefit in a big way from President Joe Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief package.
Karine Jean-Pierre is White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary. She spoke one-on-one with FOX 8 News about the COVID-19 relief package that Biden says is critical to ending the pandemic and reviving the economy.
“This American Rescue Plan gives relief to those people, gives relief to the people who are most in need; Gives a relief to the people who, you know, millions, tens of millions of people who have said they cannot put food on their table, you know, millions of people who are applying for unemployment insurance benefits,” said Jean-Pierre.
She says Biden remains firm on his proposal to send Americans checks from the federal government despite Republicans who are pushing for a lower stimulus check amount.
“He has promised a $1,400 check for folks who are in need, he’s going to keep that promise. He’s working with Congress this week to make sure that moves forward, the American Rescue Plan,” said Jean-Pierre.
She said Biden’s proposals will help first responders and health care workers specifically by providing billions to help local and state governments who have seen their revenues plummet because of the health crisis.
“So, this is what we’re trying to do, this is what the president is trying to do is bring relief and meet this moment because this is a big moment and so we have this $1.9 trillion bill because, it’s a big, big bill because we have to meet this big moment and if we don’t this crisis is only going to get worse,” Jean-Pierre stated.
But Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, who was one of the 10 Republican senators to meet with Biden recently over the relief package, said just before the impeachment trial began that the White House proposal is too big. The group of senators says the new spending should be around $600 billion.
“So far, I’m not sure they’ve adequately justified the amount they’re asking for. It’s not just me as a conservative Republican,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy points to concerns that the Biden package could result in inflation.
“I think that’s the concern that you might end up with higher inflation that would really affect middle- income and low, and working-income families,” he said.
Jean-Pierre says Biden remains open to negotiations but does not want to shortchange the American people.
He has, you know, look those 10 senators were first, senators that he met with, first congressional members that he met with, in the White House,” said Jean-Pierre.
She said Biden has a record of crossing the aisle to make deals when he was vice president and as a U.S. senator.
“Look, the president is willing to talk to anybody who has ideas that are going to make the American Rescue Plan stronger, not weaker, but stronger, and this is how he is looking at this package,” said Jean-Pierre.
Cassidy said there should be a bipartisan relief package.
“So, I do think if the Biden administration chooses to negotiate in good faith then we come to a compromise which is good for our country,” said Cassidy.
Jean-Pierre was asked if the White House is confident it can ultimately get a relief package it can live with.
“Yes, here’s the thing, we’re going to keep our promise to the American people, right?” said Jean-Pierre. “We’re confident, we’re confident that we can work with Congress to make that happen.”
Biden’s package also includes funding for small businesses and schools and seeks to boost coronavirus vaccinations, testing and address health disparities.
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