The Biden administration is working on getting support for the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks. This plan was expected to face opposition from Republicans, who have now come up with a counter proposal of $600 billion, which includes coronavirus stimulus checks only for families in need.
This $600 billion stimulus plan was introduced Sunday by a group of ten Republican senators. It includes Mitt Romney of Utah, Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
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The group says that this alternative proposal would get bipartisan support. Also, they requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to further discuss this plan.
“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 senators wrote in the letter.
Speaking to CNN, the White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese, confirmed they received the letter and “certainly will be reviewing it over the course of the day."
It is very likely that Biden would invite the group for a meeting. Biden has already said that he is willing to negotiate on the stimulus package. And, on Sunday, Jared Bernstein, a member of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, reconfirmed to Fox News that the president is "absolutely willing to negotiate."
What does the $600 billion package include?
Talking of what the $600 billion package includes, the senators say the package provides “more targeted assistance” to American families in need. Further, the package proposes $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing, tracing and treatment.
The $600 billion package also calls for an additional round of economic impact payments for families in need of assistance. Cassidy suggested that their package proposes stimulus checks of up to $1,000 that are targeted. Biden’s plan, on the other hand, proposed stimulus checks of $1400.
Also, the package includes extending federal unemployment benefits at the current level. Republican senators have also called for fully funding nutrition assistance to aid struggling families.
Additionally, the $600 billion package includes funds to help small businesses and employees via the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Further, the package provides resources for opening schools and child care facilities safely. There is also a provision of $4 billion to boost behavioral health and substance abuse services.
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said their $600 billion package is a slimmer version of Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan.
“It’d be less than $1.9 [trillion] because much of what the administration has laid out has nothing to do with Covid-19,” Portman told CNN. “As an example, with regard to the direct payments, we think they should be much more targeted.”