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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Joins White House Meeting With Biden To Talk COVID Relief

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Miami Mayor Francis Suarez met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House on Friday morning as part of a bipartisan group of governors and mayors to discuss the vital need to pass the American Rescue Plan, Biden's pandemic relief package.

Biden told the masked and socially distanced group, the most important part of his plan is the need to give states enough vaccine capacity to combat COVID-19.

"Equally consequential is the need to help the states economically in terms of everything from unemployment to being able to make sure they can get kids back in school, and what role the federal government should play in getting that done," Biden said at the start of the meeting.

"What I really want to know about is what that recovery plan, should we have more or less of anything in it, what do they think they need most, how to proceed?" added Biden.

President Biden Meets With Governors And Mayors On Economic Stimulus Relief
U.S. President Joe Biden wears a protective mask while speaking as Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland, from right, Michelle Lujan Grisham, governor of New Mexico, and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris listen during a meeting with governors and mayors in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. A dozen House committees are working on different elements of Biden's $1.9 trillion rescue proposal with plans to complete their work today, aiming for a full House vote on the overall package the week of February 22. Photographer: Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"These folks are all on the front lines. They've been dealing with this crisis from Day One," Biden said of the state and local leaders in the room. "It's not making a political statement here but it's taken a while to adjust, and they've been left on their own in many cases."

Biden noted that some governors and mayors have found, like he did, that what they thought was available in terms of vaccine supply wasn't there. He thanked the leaders for their work in responding to the crisis.

"It was a very productive meeting the president emphasized his desire for this to be a bipartisan plan. He listened to the various mayors and governors there," said Suarez.

"Our residents got only a fraction of the help that they needed," added Suarez.

"I do think there's intentionality on the part of this administration to get advice from the mayors and the governors because they are the boots on the ground," said Suarez.

Suarez commented on better communication with the White House. He said he's spoken more to the current administration in the short time they've been in office than he did with Trump's White House during the entirety of the pandemic.

Others in attendance included:

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York
  • Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas
  • Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico
  • Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland
  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta, GA
  • Mayor Latoya Cantrell, New Orleans, LA
  • Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit, MI
  • Mayor Jeff Williams, Arlington, TX


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