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White House begins talks with lawmakers on COVID-19 relief

The talks come as Biden faces increasing headwinds in his effort to win bipartisan backing for the initial legislative effort of his presidency.
Credit: AP
People stroll past a section of the National Mall by the Capitol where workers were still dismantling inauguration installations, after most downtown streets and public spaces had reopened to the public, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 in Washington. Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — Top aides to President Joe Biden have begun talks with a group of moderate Senate Republicans and Democrats on Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. 

The talks come as Biden faces increasing headwinds in his effort to win bipartisan backing for the initial legislative effort of his presidency.

Lawmakers on the right question the wisdom of racking up bigger deficits. Those on the left are urging Biden not to spend too much time on bipartisanship when the pandemic is killing thousands each day and costing more jobs.

One key Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said afterward she would reconvene a bipartisan group to focus on “a more targeted package.”

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