President Joe Biden met with a group of 10 Republican senators who have proposed $618 billion in coronavirus relief, which is a third of the $1.9 trillion he is seeking.
The Republicans propose slimmer benefits, including $1,000 in direct payments to individuals earning up to $40,000 a year, or $80,000 for couples, and would begin to phase out the benefit after that, with no payments for those earning more than $50,000, or $100,000 for couples. That is less than the Biden plan.
The cornerstone of the GOP plan appears to be $160 billion for the health care response, and other elements of the package are similar but at far lesser amounts, with $20 billion to reopen schools and $40 billion for Paycheck Protection.
The House and Senate are on track to vote, which would lay the groundwork for passing an aid package under rules requiring only a simple majority vote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden had spoken with the leader Sen. Susan Collins.
“With the virus posing a grave threat to the country, and economic conditions grim for so many, the need for action is urgent, and the scale of what must be done is large,” Psaki said.
Winning the support of 10 Republicans would be significant for Biden in the 50-50 Senate where Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaker.
“In the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a COVID-19 relief framework that builds on prior COVID assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support,” the Republican senators wrote. “Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support.”
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