November 24, 2020

Biden Calls for Stimulus Ahead of a ‘Dark Winter’ for the Country

Widespread distribution of a vaccine that would allow Americans to resume anything close to normal levels of travel, dining out and other types of spending on services that have been crushed by the pandemic is most likely months away. Economists continue to call for a new and immediate round of aid from Congress to help people and businesses weather the difficult time before the rebound is complete.

There is little chance that lawmakers will use the lame-duck session after the election to approve anything close to the $3.4 trillion House bill that Mr. Biden championed on Monday. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has called for a “highly targeted” bill, and his Republican caucus has backed a package that would cost around $500 billion.

Republicans suggested that Mr. Biden’s comments had done little to sway them. “I don’t think it’s helpful,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said, adding that Mr. Biden has “plenty to be thinking about right now” besides the scope of the relief package. A deal, Mr. Blunt said, “is less and less likely the more divergent views are out there.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, said she did not believe “it was a reasonable ask” for a package close to $3 trillion.

Business leaders in Washington have pressed the sides to compromise. “There’s no advantage for Democrats or Republicans in waiting until the new year,” Neil Bradley, the executive vice president and chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said this month.

Among the business and labor leaders Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spoke with were Mary T. Barra, chief executive of G.M.; Sonia Syngal, chief executive of the Gap; Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft; Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive of Target; Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.; Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union; and Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

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