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Wednesday February 24th, 2021 9:53PM

The Latest: Biden promises to prioritize state virus funding

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden says he’s hopeful that Republicans in Congress will be more willing to send money to state and local governments after President Donald Trump leaves office. He’s promising to make such funding a priority when he takes office in January.

Biden suggested Wednesday that Republicans have resisted Democrats’ demand for local funding as part of a pandemic-relief package “because of their fear of retribution from the president.”

Biden says, “Hopefully, when he’s gone, they’ll be more willing to do what they know should be done, has to be done, in order to save the communities they live in.”

The comments came as part of a virtual discussion Biden hosted with front-line health care workers from across the country.

States are facing massive financial shortfalls as a result of lost tax revenue related to the pandemic that may threaten local health care systems, law enforcement and education.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans generally say a new stimulus bill is needed, but they disagree on how much money should go to local governments.

___

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN'S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE:

President Donald Trump’s refusal to cooperate with his successor is forcing President-elect Joe Biden to seek unusual workarounds to prepare for the exploding public health threat and evolving national security challenges he will inherit in just nine weeks.

Read more:

— House Democrats nominate Pelosi as speaker to lead into Biden era

— Trump fires agency head who vouched for 2020 vote security

___

HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

12:10 p.m.

Vaccine maker Pfizer says it’s already in regular communication with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team as part of ongoing efforts to keep all interested parties updated on its coronavirus vaccine and its distribution.

Spokeswoman Sharon Castillo says, “There is no room for politics in this process.”

Last Sunday, Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said the transition team planned to meet with Pfizer and other vaccine makers, as President Donald Trump continues to stall the formal transition process to a new administration.

Castillo said Wednesday that Pfizer maintains ongoing communication with the Trump administration, governors and leading lawmakers of both political parties in Congress. The Biden team is part of that effort.

Castillo says Pfizer is “communicating with both sides” during the transition.

There’s no word yet on a formal meeting between Biden and the pharmaceutical chiefs.

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