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Biden aides push lawmakers for $1.9 trillion

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U.S. officials in President Joe Biden's administration tried to win over Republicans on the president's nearly $2 trillion dollar pandemic relief plan on Sunday.

Sixteen senators and two House members were on the line as top Biden aides attempted to tackle Republican concerns that the plan is too expensive.

Lawmakers from both sides said they backed the deal to get the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans as a top priority, but some Republicans sought answers about how much had been spent of the $900 billion passed in Congress last month.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she agreed that more funding was needed to distribute vaccines, but in a more "limited" bill, disagreeing with the size and scope of the plan.

Collins added her concern in an email that the proposed handout of $1,400 stimulus checks is not well targeted, and could go to families with fairly high incomes.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that lawmakers simply "can't wait" and remain in gridlock.

The White House says they need the additional bundle to cover the costs of unemployment benefits, handouts to households and more.

Since Biden took office last Wednesday he has moved quickly to sign a number of executive orders on economic relief.

The Trump administration lagged far behind its target of vaccinating 20 million Americans by 2020 and on Sunday, Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain said his predecessors left no distribution plan for how to get vaccines to millions of Americans.

Video Transcript

- US officials in President Joe Biden's administration tried to win over Republicans on the president's nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan on Sunday. 16 senators and two house members were on the line, as top Biden aides attempted to tackle Republican concerns that the plan is too expensive. Lawmakers from both sides said they backed the deal to get the COVID-19 vaccine to Americans as a top priority. But some Republicans sought answers about how much had been spent of the $900 billion passed in Congress last month.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she agreed that more funding was needed to distribute vaccines, but in a more limited bill, disagreeing with the size and scope of the plan Collins added her concern in an email that the proposed handout of $1,400 stimulus checks is not well targeted and could go to families with fairly high incomes. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that lawmakers simply can't wait, and remain in gridlock. The White House says they need the additional bundle to cover the costs of unemployment benefits, handout to households and more.

Since Biden took office last Wednesday, he has moved quickly to sign a number of executive orders on economic relief. The Trump administration lagged far behind its target of vaccinating 20 million Americans by 2020. And on Sunday, Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain said his predecessors left no distribution plan for how to get vaccines to millions of Americans.