During a roundtable discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden said that he was paying close attention to the “failure of some of our friends in Congress to move forward on an economic package needed to help people.”
Biden said that Congress was “trying like the devil” to pass a coronavirus relief package, and mentioned the $908 billion bipartisan compromise that had been presented on Tuesday as a means of breaking the impasse in the Senate.
“It wouldn’t be the answer, but it would bring immediate help for a lot of things quickly,” Biden said. “But what happened was the president said he wouldn’t support it, and apparently, Republicans in the Senate said they wouldn’t support it, so it’s now back to square one again.”
Taking aim at President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus in the early months of 2020, Biden said that Trump had tried to ensure the disease “didn’t spook the stock market” without taking into account working-class Americans who had neither the time nor funds to invest.
The working class has ended up most affected by COVID-19, Biden said. The president-elect added that even though his hands were tied until Jan. 20, one of his main priorities after taking office would be to support those who had lost their houses or jobs due to the pandemic.
“No one should be evicted from their apartment or home for failing to pay their rent or mortgage until this crisis is over,” Biden stated. “And that should be funded.”
Biden also criticized the attitudes of Republican opponents who thought “the same people who need what used to be called food stamps ... should have to work.”
“Come on, we’re way beyond that,” he said.
The COVID-19 compromise that Biden brought up was dismissed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday. The majority leader has attempted to pass his own $500 billion relief package that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have blocked due to it being a far cry from their own proposed plan of $2.2 trillion, which McConnell has called far too expensive.
Watch Biden’s entire virtual roundtable below.