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Biden, Yellen say GOP virus aid too small, Democrats push on

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with Republican lawmakers to discuss a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in Washington. From left, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Posted at 6:25 AM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 06:25:37-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden panned a Republican alternative to his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan as insufficient.

Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Senate Democrats on a private call Tuesday to take bold action to address the pandemic and economic crisis.

Senate Democrats marshaled their slim majority to vote, 50-49, on a first step toward approving Biden's plan with or without Republican votes.

The procedural vote launches a lengthy budget process toward passage by March.

Biden told Republican senators late Monday he's unwilling to settle on too small a coronavirus aid package after meeting for two hours over their slimmed-down $618 billion proposal.