Stimulus Update: Biden, Pelosi Prepare to Push for $1,400 Payments Without GOP Backing

President Joe Biden and leading Democrats are preparing to push forward on the proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without Republican support, amid continued opposition to the size of the stimulus among GOP lawmakers.

The president and Vice President Kamala Harris met with the administration's top economic advisers Friday, Biden warning: "You have to act now. There is no time to delay," The New York Times reported.

"The risk is not doing too much," he added. "The risk is not doing enough." Over the past week, Biden has sought to bring Republicans into his push for a $1.9 trillion package, but has met with resistance among the GOP over the size of the stimulus, which would include a $1,400 direct payment to every American.

Biden's plan may only come to fruition with significant changes if dependent on bipartisan votes. It needs the support of at least 10 Republican senators to avoid a filibuster, though some parts—including the $1,400 direct payments—could be passed with the Democrats' 51 votes via the reconciliation process.

On Friday, the president made it clear his priority was relief for Americans regardless of GOP backing. "I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it," he told reporters. "But the COVID relief has to pass. No ifs, ands or buts."

Biden's coronavirus response could make or break his presidency, despite the former vice president having only been in power for just over a week. Biden ran on a vow to supercharge the federal response to the pandemic, which under President Donald Trump appeared directionless and politicized.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president was still looking for ways to drum up support for a plan that can bridge the gap between the two parties, as the country grapples with stubbornly high rates of coronavirus infections and deaths.

"We're taking a number of creative steps, a little outside of the box," Psaki said. "Certainly, his preference would be to get on a plane and fly around the country."

Democratic leaders are hopeful of success, though some within the party are pushing their colleagues to find common ground with Republicans while others are agitating for larger direct payments of $2,000 per American.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday: "We want it to be bipartisan always, but we can't surrender if they are not going to be doing that." Congressional committees are reportedly already preparing the legislation that would make Biden's plan law. Pelosi said Friday: "We have to be ready."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday indicated that his Democrats will move on the stimulus package imminently. The new majority "as early as next week will begin the process of considering a very strong Covid relief bill," he said.

"If our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them," Schumer told reporters.

Correction 1/30/2021 12:00 ET: This article has been updated to reflect the correct Senate Majority Leader.

Joe Biden pictured returning to White House
President Joe Biden waves as he exits Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on January 29, in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/Getty