WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden has panned a Republican alternative to his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan as insufficient – as Senate Democrats pushed ahead, voting to launch a process that could approve the plan on their own, if Republicans won’t support it.

Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen joined Democratic senators for a private virtual meeting yesterday. Afterward, both declared the Republicans’ $618 billion offer too small. They urged big fast action to stem the pandemic crisis and economic fallout.

As the White House seeks a bipartisan bill, Democrats marshaled their slim Senate majority, voting 50-49 to start a lengthy process for approving Biden’s bill with or without GOP support. The goal is to get COVID-19 relief approved by March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires.


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