Hours after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had a challenge for congressional Republicans—and Democrats—suffering from sticker shock at the $1.9 trillion price tag of his proposed coronavirus relief plan: name which part you want on the chopping block.
“The package wasn’t designed with the number $1.9 trillion as a starting point—it was designed with the components that were necessary to give people the relief they needed,” Psaki told reporters during her inaugural press briefing last week. “What are you going to cut? Are you going to cut funding for vaccinations? Are you going to cut funding for unemployment insurance? Are you going to cut funding for reopening schools?”
One week later, members of Congress from both parties are already sharpening their carving knives—and progressive hopes for a more padded relief bill are dwindling.