Biden urges Democrats to complete $1.9 trillion coronavirus package as ‘show of strength’


President Biden urged congressional Democrats on Wednesday to bring the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package across the finish line, saying it’s important for restoring Americans’ faith in government and as a “show of strength” for his administration and the Democratic majorities in Congress. 

“It’s a show of strength, and a first step forward to restoring their faith in the capacity of government to have their backs,” Mr. Biden told House Democrats in a virtual meeting. “If we deliver on this, it also builds momentum [for] everything else we want to deliver. This will make everything more possible to get it done.”

The House approved the package last week, and the Senate is debating the measure this week. Mr. Biden said he understands there will be “small compromises” in the days ahead.

“It all starts here,” he said of Democrats’ agenda. “It starts by bringing this home.” 

Mr. Biden urged House Democrats to keep “speaking out” about the rescue plan, which provides expanded unemployment benefits, $350 billion in aid to cities and states, and money for vaccination programs. 

“You know the confidence in the American government has been plummeting since the late ‘60s to what it is now,” Mr. Biden said. “They’ve lost faith in government. This is a time to reestablish that faith. And the reason why they should have faith is, because we’re doing the right thing. If we continue to stay laser-focused on getting shots in people’s arms, responding to the economic crisis, it’s going to open up a lot of hearts and a lot of doors for us tomorrow to do the many more things we know we have to do.”

He said the package is both urgently needed and “widely embraced.”

“Three-quarters of the American people are together on this,” the president said. “Nearly unanimous support among Democrats, more than 70% of independents in poll after poll, 60% of Republicans. I’ll say that again — 60% of Republicans support what we’re doing.”

He said staying unified as Democrats to finish the bill “won’t just make a difference in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to rebuild the economy. It will also show the American people we are capable of coming together for what matters most to them.”

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