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Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday night to immediately call on Congress to pass $2,000 stimulus checks for the American people as a sign of congressional unity, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Rubio has supported such payments before, but in asking the incoming president to "break the paralysis in Washington by delivering desperately needed relief," the possible 2024 presidential candidate is presenting himself as a practical partisan. Biden already supports the payments.

What he's saying: "It would send a powerful message to the American people if, on the first day of your presidency, you called on the House and Senate to send you legislation to increase the direct economic impact payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic from $600 to $2,000," Rubio wrote.

  • Biden urged Congress to approve the bigger number before it opted for $600 checks last month.
  • President Trump then held up the checks, threatening to veto the legislation unless Congress increased the sum to $2,000. Trump has since triggered condemnation from the GOP after helping incite last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Rubio and other Republicans are now trying to find ways to smooth over the political damage.

  • "Although I will disagree with your administration frequently over the next four years, I am committed to working in good faith to advance critically important and effective policies on behalf of the people of this great nation," Rubio said.
  • "You have the ability to help break the paralysis in Washington by delivering desperately needed relief. I implore you to rise above the rhetoric and deliver an increase in assistance for American families."

Read the letter.

Go deeper

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Chauvin defense closing: "Does not have to prove his innocence"

Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson opened his closing argument on Monday by reminding the jury that Derek Chauvin "does not have to prove his innocence."

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial is seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

Merrick Garland: Domestic terror is "still with us"

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.