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Pelosi, Schumer call on Republicans to accept Biden, focus on COVID-19 relief

Nov. 12 (UPI) — Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Thursday called on Republicans to accept the outcome of the presidential election so Congress can focus on passing a new coronavirus stimulus package.

The leaders said Republicans’ refusal to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden‘s win is holding up an already-lame duck session of Congress.

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“They’re engaged in an absurd circus right now, refusing to accept reality,” House Speaker Pelosi said during a news conference. “Stop the circus and get to work on what really matters to the American people — their health and their economic security.”

Senate Democratic leader Schumer accused congressional Republicans of pandering to President Donald Trump, who has refused to concede the election and leveled accusations of widespread election fraud without offering proof.

“Senate Republicans: Stop denying reality. Stop deliberately and recklessly sowing doubt about our democratic process. And start focusing on COVID,” Schumer said.

White House negotiators and House Democrats have been locked in a battle for months on a new round of aid in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The House passed a $ 3 trillion stimulus package in May, but the Republican-led Senate has refused to accept that large of a price tag.

The House offered up a $ 2 trillion revision in recent weeks, but Republicans said they wanted to get the funding down to about $ 500 billion.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell again shot down Democrats’ call for a large stimulus Thursday, saying it’s “not a place I think we’re willing to go.”

“I gather she and the Democratic leader in the Senate still are looking at something dramatically larger,” McConnell said in reference to Pelosi and Schumer.

Not all Republicans in Congress, though, are refusing to accept the outcome of the Nov. 3 election. Both Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Chuck Grassley of Iowa have called on the Trump administration to give Biden access to daily intelligence briefs.

Traditionally, the president-elect begins receiving daily intelligence briefings after Election Day so they’re prepared to handle national security threats the day they take office.

Biden so far has been denied those briefings as well as funding from the General Services Administration to pay for the transition — offices in each government agency, computers and about $ 9.9 million to begin hiring new personnel.

Biden’s intelligence briefings need “to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way that it goes, people can be ready for that actual task,” Lankford told KRMG radio Wednesday.

“If that’s not occurring by Friday, I will step in,” he added.

Lankford is a member of the Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee.

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