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    Breaking: Biden warns US COVID-19 toll could surpass 600,000, urges Congress to act
    NBS | Saturday, January 23rd, 2021 | Published: 11:28 pm

    Breaking: Biden warns US COVID-19 toll could surpass 600,000, urges Congress to act

    President Joe Biden warned on Friday that the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States was expected to surpass 600,000 and urged Congress to move fast on his $1.9 trillion plan to battle COVID-19 and provide economic relief to struggling Americans.

    While Biden called for urgent passage of his “American Rescue Plan,” his efforts to get Congress to cooperate on his fast-paced agenda could be complicated by Donald Trump’s looming impeachment trial in the Senate.

    Top Democratic lawmakers said Friday that they planned to send the article of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives to the Senate on Monday, triggering Trump’s trial in the body.

    “The virus is surging,” Biden told reporters at the White House before signing executive orders boosting food aid and speeding up stimulus payments to Americans.

    “We’re at 400,000 dead, expected to reach well over 600,000. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted. Job losses are mounting again. We need to act now… We need to move fast.”

    Biden added that he was looking forward to working with both parties in Congress to “move quickly” on getting people help through his rescue plan.

    “The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We’ve got to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said.

    Biden is having to push Congress for funding while simultaneously getting his government confirmed – Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin won Senate approval Friday – and bracing for turmoil from the impeachment trial.

    Trump was impeached by the House on January 13 for inciting supporters to storm Congress a week earlier.

    “A trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote whether to convict the president,” Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said.

    Although Biden’s latest executive orders on food aid and stimulus payments were modest in scale, they reinforced the message that Washington needs to step in decisively against the pandemic and related economic fallout.

    Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan provides more than $400 billion to tackle the pandemic along with additional funding for small businesses and direct relief payments to Americans.

    But Congress, having already passed two huge economic relief bills, is reluctant. The president’s Democratic Party has only a small majority in the House and a razor-thin advantage in the Senate.

    MG

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