It seems that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is sending mixed signals concerning how President Biden and other officials are pursuing another COVID-19 relief bill, after coming under pressure to put out some sort of timeline for the passage of such a piece of legislation and when they would give up negotiating with the GOP and just ram it through.
“Urgent means urgent,” she said, during her daily briefing. “It means this is going to be the focus of the president, the vice president, his senior team. Hence, he’s having a group of Republican senators later today.”
Biden is due to meet a group of Republicans later on Monday who have proposed a $618 billion aid package.
On Sunday, he spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosiand Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who are under pressure to move ahead with or without Republican backing.
The result is a president keen to press forward where necessary but also to take time where necessary, said Psaki.
“The president has been clear that he is encouraged by the pace and the … rapid pace, I should say … that Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer are moving this package for that,” Psaki said. “At the same time, as you know, there is time because this process can take a bit to make changes as needed.”
She then went on to acknowledge on Monday that the expiration date on the benefits could create a deadline for taking action without the backing of the Republican Party.
President Biden has expressed his own frustration with the pace of negotiations, stating that while he’s willing to talk to Republicans about the relief package, it “has to pass,” which is a clear indication that he is willing to move on without their support.