Joe Biden on Thursday accused President Donald Trump and top Senate Republicans of “playing political games” with a new round of coronavirus pandemic aid to Americans.
Speaking to the American Federation of Teachers’ virtual convention Thursday, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee slammed the White House and other Republicans for not doing enough to provide financial relief to workers in frontline fields, like teachers.
“Trump and McConnell have to stop playing political games with the HEROES Act, which will allow billions of dollars to go to state and local governments,” Biden said, adding that money in the bill was purposed to help school districts better equip schools to reopen in the fall amid the pandemic.
The act is a $3 trillion piece of legislation that included another round of stimulus checks for Americans, pay raises for frontline workers, an extension of the $600-a-week boost in unemployment compensation and additional state and local aid.
The Republican-controlled Senate has not yet moved on the bill which was passed by the Democratic-controlled House in May. The bill includes federal dollars to help states, cities, towns and schools deal with funding crises created by the pandemic.
Republicans have called it a “liberal wish list”, and Trump has previously called the bill “dead on arrival.”
Trump in recent days has begun pushing for a short-term patch to protect renters and extend unemployment payments. A federal moratorium on evictions lapsed last week and an unemployment bonus of $600 per week expires Friday, but many Republicans have resisted the idea.
Biden, meanwhile, also hit Trump for missing “every single opportunity” to “change or take us in the opposite direction” amid the growing outbreak.
“We saw this challenge coming,” Biden said. “We’ve been calling for the president to address this as early as January, but Donald Trump failed to take any action on testing and tracing and anything we need to get this under control.”