WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden plans to end his first explosion of executive action by the middle of next week and shift his focus to getting key parts of his legislative agenda approved, with $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus virus package according to the highest priority, according to three administrative officials.
Biden has quietly reached out to Republicans about the aid bill, which he wants to convey with bipartisan support, and may soon begin holding personal meetings in the White House, according to an official. At the same time, the president has chosen his words carefully when considering the upcoming indictment against former President Donald Trump.
Biden has said that a Senate trial must take place, but he is holding back on revealing his views on whether Trump should be convicted, despite a desire to sharply criticize his predecessor without hesitation.
An administration official said: “What he is trying to do is pass legislation.”
Officials said their concern was that full support for the deportation would poison Biden’s hopes of a two-party system by making it harder for some Republicans to vote for everything he proposes.
Biden also keeps the cards close when it comes to discussing his approach to the Republicans. Officials have said Biden is in talks with Republicans, but he does not want the White House to expose them to concerns that it may be counterproductive to get coronavirus legislation passed. The president is assessing where different Republicans stand on the relief law and a possible subsequent bill, an official said. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio have said they spoke to Biden this week, NBC reported Thursday.
Biden stressed the importance of the relief law on Friday for journalists in the Oval Office, where he met with Finance Minister Janet Yellen and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“The idea here is that we must act now,” Biden said. “We have learned from previous crises, the risk does not do too much, the risk does not do enough,” he added.
Yellen said the “rescue plan will help millions of people reach the other side of this pandemic. It will also make some smart investments to get our economy back on track.”
Some government officials privately acknowledge that it is increasingly likely that Democrats in Congress will need to use the budget reconciliation process to pass the relief proposal. Publicly, the White House is laying the groundwork to eventually support the process, which would allow Democrats to move forward without Republicans by trying to reconsider the aid bill as an impartial issue.
“Republicans can still vote for a package even if it goes through reconciliation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday, reiterating that Biden wants GOP support for the bill.
Democrats have signaled that they are prepared to use reconciliation if Republican support becomes inadequate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who is in close contact with the White House, said Thursday that a budget solution that would be the tool to clear the coronavirus bill through reconciliation will be on the floor next week. “I hope we do not need it, but if necessary we have it,” Pelosi said.
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Biden also plans to push his immigration bill in the coming weeks, and unlike the White House’s insistence that coronavirus legislation cannot be passed in pieces, some parts of the immigration proposal may be moved separately, an official said.
Meanwhile, the White House is expected to roll out a series of executive orders on immigration next week, including the long-awaited announcement of a working group to reunite migrant families separated under the Trump administration.
Psaki confirmed to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday that Biden’s candidate for home security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will lead the working group. The Senate is expected to confirm Mayorkas on Monday.
In other management news:
- Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will have a financial review with Finance Minister Janet Yellen on Friday morning.
- The president travels to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, in the afternoon to visit wounded service members.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken has chosen Rob Malley as the US special envoy for Iran, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday. Malley, president of the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution organization, served as the White House’s coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region in the Obama administration, where he helped negotiate Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from 2018.
Rebecca Shabad, Abigail Williams and Dareh Gregorian contributed.
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