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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden’s proposal for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package was based on an assessment of specific needs, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday, when asked about Republican objections about the total cost.

“The package wasn’t designed with the $1.9 trillion as a starting point. It was designed with the components that were necessary to give people the relief that they needed,” she told reporters during her first briefing after Biden’s inauguration.

Psaki said Biden would be closely involved in negotiating with Congress about the relief package, and acknowledged that the final version of any legislation rarely looked exactly like the initial proposal.

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