In a clip of the interview released by CBS Saturday night, Biden became emotional
when discussing another touchpoint that has made him relatable to many American families — his son Hunter’s struggles with substance abuse
, which the younger Biden explores in a memoir that will be released April 6.
“I’ll bet there’s not a family you know that doesn’t have somebody in their family that had a drug problem or an alcohol problem,” Biden told O’Donnell in the clip. “The honesty with which he stepped forward and talked about the problem…. It gave me hope reading it. I mean, it was like — my boy’s back. You know what I mean?” Biden said, becoming emotional as he discussed his son’s project. “Anyway, I’m sorry to get so personal.”
Biden’s economic pitch to coincide with impeachment
Biden’s effort to convince the American people to get behind his economic proposal
— which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for some Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits, as well as aid for small businesses and those facing hunger and eviction — will coincide with the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump next week, a spectacle that will further distract from the pressing economic troubles of American families.
On Friday, both chambers of Congress approved a budget resolution
that lays the groundwork for Democrats to be able to approve Biden’s proposal on a party-line vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Friday letter to her colleagues that they would spend the next week writing the legislation “to create a path to final passage for the Biden American Rescue Plan, so that we can finish our work before the end of February.”
Though Biden was elected on the promise that he could persuade Republicans to work with him
— and he continues to say that he hopes to build bipartisan support for the bill — he showed a flash of impatience Friday when explaining why he was pressing ahead without waiting for GOP support. He pointed to the weak January jobs report, which showed that the US economy added only 49,000 jobs last month, and noted that it was also the single deadliest month of the pandemic with nearly 100,000 deaths.
“I know some in Congress think we’ve already done enough to deal with the crisis in the country. Others think that things are getting better and we can afford to sit back and either do a little or do nothing at all. That’s not what I see,” he said Friday, arguing that “a lot of folks (are) reaching the breaking point.”
Noting that he has met with Republicans and hoped to be moving ahead with their support, he added, “They’re just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go.”
“If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation,” he said, “that’s an easy choice. I’m going to help the American people who are hurting now.”
But in an excerpt of the CBS interview released Friday night, Biden said he does not believe he will be able to raise the minimum wage
to $15 an hour through his relief proposal due to the Senate’s rules.
As the legislative work — which could stretch over the next month or longer — gets under way, the bipartisan group of House lawmakers known as the Problem Solvers Caucus is advocating for quicker passage of a $160 billion package focused exclusively on vaccine distribution as a more efficient way to get money where it’s needed most.
Rep. Tom Reed, a New York Republican who co-chairs the group, said in a statement Friday that “we simply do not have time to spare when the lives of the American people are at stake as new variants of the virus are emerging daily.”
“For the sake of protecting the lives of our fellow Americans, we must unite and act now in support of vaccines,” Reed said. “By quickly increasing federal funding for testing, vaccine distribution, and other key initiatives, we can get more shots in arms, safely reopen our economy, and finally defeat this virus.”
But Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, rejected the idea Saturday, arguing that would “slow the train down of getting something done.”
“We’re not going to hide behind some limited bill,” Casey told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on “Newsroom” Saturday. “We’ve got to get the whole bill out the door. … We’ve got to get this bill done no later than the early part of mid-March.”