Biden Prepares for First Presidential Trip, Town Hall on COVID Relief Deal

Tags: Currents Coronavirus, Media, President Joe Biden, US. Politics, vaccines, World News

Currents News Staff

President Biden’s agenda is taking center stage this morning in a Washington no longer consumed by his predecessor’s impeachment trial. 

Looking to drum up support for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, today, Biden is taking his message directly to the public with his first official trip as president to Wisconsin where he’ll make the case for his relief package during a CNN town hall.

On Feb. 17 it’s off to Michigan to a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant. Back in Washington, the Biden Administration is still playing catch up on safely reopening more schools and boosting the national vaccine and testing plans.

A group of bipartisan governors sent the president a letter asking for better coordination on distributing vaccines between the federal and state governments, which is an issue Biden noted in a meeting with local leaders at the White House last week.

“What I found when I got here, that what we thought was available in terms of everything from vaccine to vaccinators was not the case,” Biden said. “So I thank them for the work they did in their cities and their states in order to respond to the crisis.”

The president is also still struggling to get Republicans on board with his relief bill.

But with pandemic relief and vaccines on the line, Democrats are growing impatient and ready to move forward without Republican support.

“We are going to rush to get this done, to help deploy more vaccines, to help get kids back into school safely and to provide the other important benefits in this rescue package,” said Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen. “And if Republicans are willing to join us in that effort, we will work with those who want to join us.”

Another major hurdle is a provision to hike the federal minimum wage to $15. It’s a proposal, opposed not only by Senate Republicans, but also two Democrats.

And with enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits scheduled to expire March 14, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says there’s no time to waste.

“Congress has got to move forward vigorously, do what the president of the United States campaigned on and wants to do,” said Sen. Sanders. “That’s what we’ve got to do. Not only to help the American people, but to restore faith that government in fact can respond to the needs of ordinary Americans.”