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Senate unanimously passes $2.2 trillion emergency relief package; U.S. reports more than 200 deaths in single day

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks during a virtual press briefing in Arlington on Wednesday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon said that he hopes the Senate passes a stimulus bill as soon as possible, casting it as a much-needed immediate boost for a nation reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus.

The former vice president said he has been in frequent contact with congressional leaders, as well as governors and mayors around the country, and has offered some of his feedback about the legislation.

“I think the Democrats in the Senate got as much of what needs to be done in as they could possibly get,” Biden told reporters during a 30-minute virtual briefing on Wednesday afternoon. “You can’t wait it out longer.”

He said there would need to be another round of economic aid and suggested he would push for spending on environmental policies that would fit within his version of the Green New Deal.

“We’re going to need new infrastructure going down the road here,” he said. “And it’s a way to generate economic growth. That’s going to be, I think, the next round we have to be looking at.”

Biden addressed reporters from his TV studio in the basement of his home, and the Democratic presidential candidate appeared to be remembering the days when he was a senator able to have an impact on legislation.

“I have to tell you, I find that just like anybody who cares about this, I’m chomping at the bit. I wish I were still in the Senate, being able to impact on some of these things,” he said. “But I am where I am. I hope to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. And I hope I’m able to get my message across as we go forward.”

Biden also warned that Trump’s timeline of getting the country back to normal by Easter was unrealistic and could have devastating impacts.

“Now he’s suggesting he wants to get the country opened — back open by Easter,” Biden said. “Look, we all want to get back to normal as quickly as possible, but we have a lot to do to make that possible. We have to do it in a smart way, not meet some arbitrary or symbolic timeline.”

“It would be a catastrophic thing to do for our people and for our economy if we sent people back to work just as we were beginning to see the impact of social distancing take hold only to unleash a second spike in infections,” he added. “That’d be far more devastating in the long run.”

When asked what his message was to investors who are worried about a teetering economy, Biden said they need to “think about the science.”