President Joe Biden told congressional Democrats on Wednesday he would not back down on including $1,400 checks for struggling Americans in his COVID-19 relief plan but would consider tighter limits on who gets them, lawmakers and aides said.
Biden held a conference call with House of Representatives Democrats and talked with Democratic senators at the White House as the party prepared to use a procedural maneuver to push Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package through without Republican votes if necessary.
"We did have a conversation about the direct payments and how those might be modified in a way to ensure they're targeted," Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Biden's home state of Delaware, said as he left the White House Wednesday morning.
"But President Biden was clear with us and with our caucus yesterday, he's not going to forget the middle class, he's not going to walk back from a real commitment."
Biden has made addressing the heavy human and economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 447,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work, a key focus of the early weeks of his administration.