The important point here is that when Biden entered office and had an opportunity to spend trillions of dollars under the banner of “Covid relief,” he made the concerted decision to pass a sweeping, generational, social-welfare bill and reward political allies such as teachers’ unions. So his call for a new round of Covid spending should not be taken seriously. This is especially true given that the White House has been cagey about how much of the existing Covid-relief money remains.
It’s also impossible to remove this request from the context of Biden’s current political situation.
Senator Joe Manchin has made clear he has no interest in further negotiations to pass Biden’s signature Build Back Better bill. Democrats’ election bill is going nowhere, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema is not willing to kill the filibuster to pass it. He starts out 2022 with the expectation that his party will get slaughtered in the midterms, delivering at least the House to Republicans and destroying any chance he has to pass major legislation in his first term.