“Republicans want to climb out of a 13-foot hole with a 6-foot ladder,” one senior aide to a Democratic senator told CNN on Monday. “We don’t have time to wait for them to get serious about the problem.”
Afterward, the lawmakers emerged to describe the meeting as “cordial,” “frank” and “useful.” But they did not suggest Biden had come down from his figure, nor did they announce they were willing to meet him at a new number.
For Democrats, the timeline is the priority — not getting Republicans to support the plan.
“My constituents don’t call me on the phone and say, ‘I need bipartisanship,’ ” said Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida. “They call me on the phone and they say, Where can I get a vaccine?’ “
She added, “I think there is a total overemphasis of the word bipartisanship and the word unity should be unity with our constituents. I will say, you know, overwhelmingly, the American people are behind this by the plan.”
Democrats hope Republicans recognize that by introducing the budget resolutions and setting the stage for reconciliation they have the ability to push the plan through, with or without GOP support.
“This is a symbol of how serious we are. We are not fooling around and not waiting,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat.
“You know it has not been very long since the inauguration,” she added. “We are absolutely prepared to move ahead and would prefer if the Republicans would simply agree that this level of spending is exactly what we need.”
CNN’s Caroline Kelly and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.