During an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Brian Deese insisted that items including $1,400 payments to all Americans, $20 billion for public transit, $9 billion for cybersecurity, and a $15 minimum wage were all important means of helping Americans hurting during the pandemic.
"Let's look at each of those," Deese said. "The cybersecurity resources there are in the wake of the SolarWinds hack. We have seen, and now understand significant vulnerabilities that are exacerbated by COVID, and the fact that so much federal operations are happening online. We need those resources to secure our systems now."
Deese did not explain what transit funding had to do with COVID-19 relief, other than to say that "our transit systems across the country are facing acute crisis" and that improving them now while people are working remotely will prevent difficulties when people eventually start commuting again.
As for the increased minimum wage, Deese said it "is a concrete and direct way to help support those workers who are out there on the front lines right now, providing services to all of us, and give them direct support and a direct boost right now."
Direct support already came in the form of $600 payments to individual Americans, and Biden is proposing an additional $1,400. Deese pointed to bipartisan support for the increased payments. President Trump himself had called for $2,000 checks instead of the $600 that ended up in the most recent stimulus package.
Host Chris Wallace noted that Republicans were unwilling to spend more than $1 trillion in the last package, and that was with a Republican president. With Biden himself saying "there’s not time to waste" and that "we have to act now," Wallace asked if Biden would support ending the filibuster if the GOP said no to his $1.9 trillion plan. Deese did not give a direct answer, pointing to Biden’s past calls for unity, but he also said that acting "quickly" is the incoming administration’s priority.
"Well look, we think we need to move quickly here, but I would also say there’s a lot of skepticism that the president-elect’s call for unity and working together was going to resonate and he won the election resoundingly," Deese said. "There’s a lot of skepticism that Congress would come together in a bipartisan way and deliver a down payment on this relief, and that happened. So let's see where we can get here. There is a lot of, again, a lot of elements of this plan that have support across the board, both in Washington and in state capitals and around the country. But we need to act. We need to act quickly. That's what the economy is telling us, that's what the experts are telling us and so that's our priority."