Joe Biden Pressures Republicans to Pass Coronavirus Aid in Milwaukee

US President Joe Biden holds a face mask as he participates in a CNN town hall at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 16, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden visited Milwaukee, WI, Tuesday evening in an attempt to put public pressure on GOP lawmakers to pass his promised version of a coronavirus relief package.

The needed increase in public support for such legislation comes amid falling coronavirus infection rates and deaths after two of the most difficult months of the pandemic. But many Republican lawmakers are uncomfortable with the large price tag of a deal that would potentially bailout Democrat-led states that have managed their state budgets poorly, even before the pandemic.

Some lawmakers are not comfortable with $1,400 direct deposits to Americans, and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the Wall Street Journal that going too big might derail Biden’s agenda. “That will help unify our party,” McConnell said. “I don’t think many Republicans are going to be for very many of the things that are coming out of this administration.”

Biden’s effort to make his pitch to the American people at the Milwaukee town hall is a first as he has not ventured outside his presidential compounds since the inauguration other than “weekend trips to his Delaware home and the Camp David presidential retreat.” Asked as he left the White House about McConnell’s comments, Biden said, “It may unify Republicans, but it will hurt America badly.”

Biden’s trip to Wisconsin, a political battleground state, is a telling weather vane. For Tuesday night’s town hall, Biden took questions from a small audience of Democrats, Republicans, and independents at a small, socially distant gathering at Milwaukee’s historic Pabst Theater.

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