‘President-elect’ Joe Biden stepped up his criticism of President Trump’s refusal to concede the election on Monday, charging that more Americans could die from COVID-19 as a result of the delayed transfer of power.
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Most pressingly, Biden said Trump’s sweeping blockade of the transition process is preventing his team from accessing the outgoing administration’s plans for distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters at his makeshift transition team headquarters in Wilmington, Del. “If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind by over a month, month and a half. So it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now.”
Biden issued the dire warning after delivering prepared remarks on his plan for resurrecting the U.S. economy.
The top priority for Biden is getting Congress to pass another economic stimulus package — ideally in the lame-duck session before he takes office in January — as federal unemployment benefits, small business relief and a range of other aid programs are set to expire by the end of the year.
The president-elect said he would prefer legislation modeled after the $3 trillion “HEROES Act,” which the Democrat-controlled House passed in the spring only for Senate Republicans to block it without ever appropriating an alternative.
“Pass the Heroes Act,” Biden said, using the formal name for the bill. “It has all the money and capacity to take care of each of those things now — not tomorrow.”
Biden said he struggles to understand why Trump isn’t leaning on congressional Republicans to come to the table for another stimulus, as the U.S. COVID-19 death toll nears 250,000 and the country keeps breaking records for the daily number of new infections.
“The idea that the president is still playing golf and not doing anything about it is beyond my comprehension,” Biden said, referring to Trump hitting the links twice this past weekend as the country plunges deeper into the crisis. “You would at least think he would want to go out on a positive note, but what is he doing? … There’s virtually no discussion.”
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