Biden to meet with GOP lawmakers to discuss virus relief

Biden to meet with GOP lawmakers to discuss virus relief

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is about to fulfill Monday with a gaggle of 10 Republican senators who’ve proposed spending about one-third of the $1.9 trillion he’s looking for in coronavirus support, although congressional Democrats are poised to maneuver forward with out Republican help.

An invite to the White Home got here hours after the lawmakers despatched Biden a letter Sunday urging him to barter reasonably than attempt to ram by his aid package deal solely on Democratic votes. The Home and Senate are on observe to vote as quickly as this week on a price range decision, which might lay the groundwork for passing an support package deal underneath guidelines requiring solely a easy majority vote within the intently divided Senate.

The purpose is for passage by March, when further unemployment help and different pandemic support expires. The assembly to be hosted by Biden would quantity to probably the most public involvement for the president within the negotiations for the following spherical of virus aid. Democratic and Republican lawmakers are far aside of their proposals for help.


White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned Sunday that Biden had spoken with the chief of the group, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Although Biden needs “a full change of views,” Psaki reiterated that the president stays in favor of shifting ahead with a far-reaching aid package deal.

“With the virus posing a grave menace to the nation, and financial situations grim for therefore many, the necessity for motion is pressing, and the size of what should be executed is giant,” Psaki mentioned.

In difficult Biden to satisfy his pledge of unity, the group mentioned in its letter that its counterproposal will embody $160 billion for vaccines, testing, therapy and private protecting tools and name for extra focused aid than Biden’s plan to situation $1,400 stimulus checks for many People.

Successful the help of 10 Republicans can be important for Biden within the 50-50 Senate the place Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaker. If all Democrats have been to again an eventual compromise invoice, the laws would attain the 60-vote threshold obligatory to beat potential blocking efforts and cross underneath common Senate procedures.


“Within the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, now we have developed a COVID-19 aid framework that builds on prior COVID help legal guidelines, all of which handed with bipartisan help,” the Republican senators wrote. “Our proposal displays lots of your said priorities, and together with your help, we consider that this plan might be permitted shortly by Congress with bipartisan help.”

The plea for Biden to present bipartisan negotiations extra time comes because the president has proven indicators of impatience because the extra liberal wing of his get together considers passing the aid package deal by a course of generally known as price range reconciliation. That might enable the invoice to advance with solely the backing of his Democratic majority.

The Republicans didn’t present many particulars of their proposal. One of many signatories, Louisiana Sen. Invoice Cassidy, mentioned that it will value about $600 billion.


“If you cannot discover bipartisan compromise on COVID-19, I do not know the place you could find it,” mentioned Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who additionally signed the letter.

However whilst Biden prolonged the invitation to the Republican lawmakers, Psaki mentioned that $1,400 aid checks, substantial funding for reopening colleges, support to small companies and hurting households, and extra “is badly wanted.”

“As main economists have mentioned, the hazard now will not be in doing an excessive amount of: it’s in doing too little,” Psaki mentioned. “People of each events need to their leaders to fulfill the second.”

Biden additionally spoke on Sunday with Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, who’re dealing with a rising push from the extra liberal Democratic members to maneuver ahead with Biden’s laws with or with out Republican help.

The opposite GOP senators invited to fulfill with Biden are Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Younger of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.


Brian Deese, the highest White Home financial adviser who’s main the administration’s outreach to Congress, mentioned earlier Sunday that administration officers have been reviewing the letter. He didn’t instantly decide to a Biden assembly with the lawmakers.

However Cedric Richmond, a senior Biden adviser, mentioned the president “could be very prepared to fulfill with anybody to advance the agenda.” When requested in regards to the senators’ plan, Richmond mentioned, “That is about seriousness of function.”

Deese indicated the White Home might be open to negotiating on additional limiting who would obtain stimulus checks. Portman recommended the checks ought to go to people who make not more than $50,000 per yr and households capped at $100,000 per yr.

Underneath the Biden plan, households with incomes as much as $300,000 may obtain some stimulus cash.

“That’s actually a spot that we’re prepared to take a seat down and take into consideration, are there methods to make the whole package deal more practical?” Deese mentioned.


As a candidate, Biden predicted his a long time within the Senate and his eight years as Barack Obama’s vice chairman gave him credibility as a deal-maker and would assist him convey Republicans and Democrats to consensus on crucial issues dealing with the nation.

However lower than two weeks into his presidency, Biden confirmed frustration with the tempo of negotiations at a time when the financial system exhibited additional proof of damage from the pandemic. Final week, 847,000 People utilized for unemployment advantages, an indication that layoffs stay excessive because the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

“I help passing COVID aid with help from Republicans if we will get it. However the COVID aid has to cross — no ifs, ands or buts,” Biden mentioned on Friday.


Within the letter, the Republican lawmakers reminded Biden that in his inaugural tackle, he proclaimed that the challenges dealing with the nation require “probably the most elusive of issues in a democracy: Unity.”

Cassidy individually criticized the present Biden plan as “chock-full of handouts and payoffs to Democratic constituency teams.”

“You need the patina of bipartisanship … in order that’s not unity,” Cassidy mentioned.

Jared Bernstein, a member of the White Home Council of Financial Advisers, mentioned Biden stays prepared to barter however that officers wanted to see extra particulars from Republicans. On the similar time, Bernstein pressed the administration’s argument that doing too little to stimulate the financial system may have monumental impression on the financial system within the near- and long-term.

“Look, the American folks actually couldn’t care much less about price range course of, whether or not it’s common order, bipartisanship, whether or not it’s filibuster, whether or not it’s reconciliation,” Bernstein mentioned. “They want aid, and so they want it now.”


Portman and Deese have been on CNN’s “State of the Union,” and Deese additionally was interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Cassidy and Bernstein appeared on Fox Information Channel’s ”Fox Information Sunday,” and Richmond was on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

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