President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday praised Congress for passing the relief bill, but he said the package is “far from perfect” and reiterated that he sees it as just a “down payment” on an additional aid package he wants to pass after he takes office.
“We have a lot more work to do. Early next year I will put before the Congress my plans for what comes next,” he said. “We will need more help to fully distribute the vaccine. We need more testing in order to reopen our schools. We need more funding to help firefighters and police, many of whom are being laid off. The same with nurses risking their lives on the frontlines. The same for the millions of families hurting and unable to put food on the table or pay rent or a mortgage.”
Asked by a reporter if he would seek to provide a third round of direct payments, Biden said yes, but that the amount would be “a negotiating issue.”
Congressional leaders have said they expect to consider another Covid relief bill early next year. “I would hope that as we see the need for what we have done in this nearly $900 billion legislation that we’ll vote on today, that everyone understands it’s a first step,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on the House floor Monday.
Biden said that American families suffering the hardships caused by the virus — including Republicans — will push their representatives in Congress to work with him to provide more help. Asked if he
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated Monday that he will continue to press for liability protections for businesses, hospitals and schools. "I think liability relief is really important,” McConnell told Fox News on Monday. “And if there is another coronavirus relief bill after the first year of the year, I'm going to insist that liability protection for these universities and healthcare providers is a part of it.”