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Biden says last-minute coronavirus relief bill leaves work for next Congress
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Congress finally passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package on Monday night after almost six months of stalled negotiations, but President-elect Joe Biden is already pushing for more economic aid, likely setting up an early battle with Republicans next year.
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Biden called the agreement, which congressional leaders reached late Sunday after days of in-person meetings on Capitol Hill, a "down payment."
While the $900 billion measure includes a second stimulus check of up to $600 for individuals earning less than $87,000, an 11-week extension of boosted federal unemployment benefits through mid-March and funding for vaccine distribution, it's markedly less ambitious than the $2.2 trillion in spending Democrats maintained was needed.
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"Immediately, starting in the new year, Congress will need to get to work on support for our COVID-19 plan, for support to struggling families, and investments in jobs and economic recovery," Biden said in a statement Sunday night. "There will be no time to waste."
Biden has not specified what relief measures he would like to see addressed after he's sworn in on Jan. 20. An official on Biden's transition told The Washington Post that the president-elect wants additional money for "supporting the covid response effort, reopening schools and helping families, businesses, and state and local governments.”