A bunch of Republican senators launched a slimmed-down coronavirus aid deal as a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan.
The 10 senators, led by Maine’s Susan Collins, unveiled the plan on Monday morning which incorporates $1,000 direct funds to Americans as a substitute of the $1,400 checks proposed by Biden.
The group despatched a letter to Biden on Sunday urging him to think about their smaller COVID-19 aid counterproposal and can meet with the president later Monday as Biden decides whether or not to forge forward with the proposal with solely Democratic votes.
The $618 billion GOP plan contains:
$1,000 stimulus checks for people making as much as $40,000 a yr and phasing them out fully when earnings reaches $50,000. Joint filers would get $2,000 with a phasing out starting at $80,000 a yr with an earnings cap at $100,000;
$500 per grownup and youngster dependent;
$300 per week for unemployment advantages via June 30;
$160 billion for the pandemic response, together with $20 billion for the nationwide vaccine program, $50 billion for growth of testing and $30 billion for catastrophe aid;
$20 billion for Ok-12 colleges;
$50 billion for small companies, together with the Paycheck Protection Program.
In addition to stimulus checks, Biden’s emergency plan unveiled in January additionally contains prolonged unemployment advantages, $415 billion to spice up the pandemic response and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, about $440 billion for small companies and communities and $130 billion for colleges. The plan additionally requires elevating the federal minimal wage to $15 per hour.
Unlike the Republican plan, Biden has proposed $400 per week for unemployment advantages that might be prolonged via September. Biden has additionally allotted $350 billion in support for state and native governments — a precedence for Democrats; the Republican plan doesn’t embrace state or native assist.
“I’m open to negotiate,” Biden mentioned at a information convention final week, including that “time is of the essence and I must tell you I’m reluctant to cherry pick and take out one or two items here.”
The group of 10 GOP senators is critical as a result of it’s the variety of Republican votes Democrats would wish for the 60-vote threshold to move the deal via common Senate procedures.
The Republican counteroffer additionally comes because the House is anticipated to move a finances decision this week, which is step one towards approving a COVID-19 aid invoice via reconciliation, CNBC studies.
Reconciliation is a course of that enables for “expedited consideration” of laws on spending, taxes and debt. Reconciliation would enable Democrats to bypass the 60-vote requirement. Democrats management the chamber with a 50-50 cut up and Vice President Kamala Harris because the tie-breaking vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, mentioned that the “preference” for Democrats is for the coronavirus plan to be bipartisan.
“But if our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them,” Schumer mentioned.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned on Sunday that Biden has spoken to Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and is “grateful that Congress is prepared to begin action on the American Rescue Plan in just his second full week in office,” Politico reported. Psaki indicated that Biden’s hasn’t modified his stance on passing the coronavirus bundle with all Democratic votes regardless of agreeing to fulfill with the GOP senators.
“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 mentioned.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who was a part of the bipartisan group of senators pushing again on Biden’s proposed $1,400 stimulus funds, mentioned he hopes lawmakers can move the deal “in a bipartisan way.”
“We ought to try to do what we can do in a bipartisan way. Let’s do that first — show them that we can start out the new Congress bipartisan,” Manchin mentioned. “And what we don’t agree on in a bipartisan way, then Senator Schumer and the leadership and the Democrat Party has other means to move things along, and I think it’s appropriate.”