Biden meeting with GOP senators Monday on coronavirus relief
A group of GOP senators will meet with President Biden on Monday after pitching their own coronavirus relief framework.
“We appreciate the President’s quick response to our letter, and we are pleased to accept his invitation to the White House tomorrow afternoon to discuss the path forward for the sixth bipartisan Covid-19 relief package,” the GOP senators said in a joint statement.
The group includes GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden reignites immigration fight in Congress Paul says Roberts’s absence ‘crystalized’ argument against Trump impeachment Democrats ready to bypass Republicans on COVID-19 relief bill MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPaul says Roberts’s absence ‘crystalized’ argument against Trump impeachment How McConnell derailed Trump’s impeachment trial before it started Kaine eyes next week to file censure aiming to bar Trump from future office MORE (Alaska), Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden signs series of orders to tackle climate change | Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing Republicans press Granholm on fossil fuels during confirmation hearing MORE (La.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney blasts news of Trump call with Taylor Greene: ‘Lies of a feather flock together’ Marjorie Taylor Greene touts Trump call amid growing backlash Leaving the GOP After 46 years and feeling ‘politically homeless’ MORE (Utah), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Which path will Democrats take on COVID-19 bill? Democrats ready to bypass Republicans on COVID-19 relief bill MORE (Ohio), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoModerates vow to ‘be a force’ under Biden The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden’s crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief MORE (W.Va.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungSenate panel advances Buttigieg nomination in 21-3 vote Trump, allies raise pressure on Senate GOP ahead of impeachment Moderates vow to ‘be a force’ under Biden MORE (Ind), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenate GOP boxes itself in on impeachment Moderates vow to ‘be a force’ under Biden The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden’s crisis agenda hits headwinds MORE (Kan.), Mike RoundsMike RoundsBipartisan group discussing Senate rules change Senate GOP signals it’s likely to acquit Trump for second time The Memo: Chances recede of GOP breaking with Trump MORE (S.D.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate GOP signals it’s likely to acquit Trump for second time Senate committee advances Biden’s DHS pick despite Republican pushback Democrat Jeff Jackson jumps into North Carolina Senate race MORE (N.C.).
White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMenendez calls for sanction on Russia after Navalny protests Biden signs executive orders at furious pace Biden, Yellen call for swift action on coronavirus relief package MORE disclosed on Sunday night that Biden had spoken to Collins, who he previously served with in the Senate and who has taken the lead in trying to jumpstart bipartisan negotiations on the next round of coronavirus relief, and invited her and the other nine GOP senators to the White House.
The GOP senators outlined their own coronavirus framework earlier Sunday that Cassidy put around $600 billion — less than a third of the roughly $1.9 trillion plan offered by Biden.
The GOP proposal would include $1,000 checks, while Democrats are pushing for $1,400 checks. It also includes more money for vaccines, extends unemployment benefits and includes things like nutrition assistance, small business aid and money for schools and childcare.
The GOP letter comes as Democrats appear ready to move this week to set the stage for passing an eventual coronavirus relief bill through reconciliation, a budget process that will let them avoid a 60-vote legislative filibuster in the Senate.
The House will vote on the budget resolution this week that will include instructions for crafting the coronavirus bill, with the Senate hoping to follow quickly. Democrats are hoping to be able to pass the coronavirus relief bill by mid-March, when unemployment benefits are set to expire.
But Republicans have shown no signs of supporting a $1.9 trillion bill after Congress passed an additional $900 billion in coronavirus relief late last year—the fifth package that Congress has passed.
Instead, the GOP senators, in their letter, urged Biden to work with them on a proposal, which they predicted could get through Congress if he supports it.
“The proposal we have outlined is mindful of these past efforts, while also acknowledging the priorities that need additional support right now,” the GOP senators wrote.
“With your support, we believe Congress can once again craft a relief package that will provide meaningful, effective assistance to the American people and set us on a path to recovery,” they added.
Democrats have slim margins in both chambers, and progressives, who view $1.9 trillion as the minimum Congress should be spending, would likely balk at a substantially lower price tag.
In addition to speaking to Collins, Psaki said that Biden spoke with House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFBI: Woman arrested in Capitol riot allegedly said she wanted to shoot Pelosi ‘in the friggin’ brain’ Did Trump know what was about to happen Jan. 6? Marjorie Taylor Greene touts Trump call amid growing backlash MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerProposal for permanent Capitol fencing sparks bipartisan pushback Immigration reform can’t wait Psaki expects DHS nominee Mayorkas to head task force to reunite separated families MORE (D-N.Y.) on Sunday.
“He is grateful that Congress is prepared to begin action on the American Rescue Plan in just his second full week in office,” she said.
Psaki also gave no indication that Biden was considering abandoning his $1.9 trillion proposal for a smaller plan.
“The American Rescue Plan … is badly needed. As leading economists have said, the danger now is not in doing too much: it is in doing too little,” she added.
The White House invite also comes as Schumer, speaking to reporters in New York, reiterated his warning that Democrats were willing to move forward without Republicans if they wouldn’t support a “bold” plan.
“We intend to move forward. We hope that we can move forward with a bipartisan way with our Republican colleagues cooperating. But we need big, bold action and if we can’t move forward with them, we’ll have to move forward on our own. Getting the job done in a big bold way is the number one priority,” he added.
Schumer also appeared cool to the GOP proposal, telling the New York Daily News that Republicans “should negotiate.”
“If the reports are true, it doesn’t have any state and local money in it. Look at that, just as one thing,” Schumer said.