Biden sets meeting with Republican senators seeking COVID-19 relief compromise

A group of 10 Republican senators released a $600 billion coronavirus relief package Sunday to counter President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan.

The group, led by Sen. Susan Collins and including Sens. Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski, also requested a meeting with Biden to discuss the proposal, The Washington Post reported.

Update 9:10 p.m. ET Jan. 31: In response to the letter, President Joe Biden invited Collins and other signers of the letter to meet at the White House early this week “for a full exchange of views.”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki released the following statement late Sunday, noting the “danger now is not in doing too much: it is in doing too little.”

“Americans of both parties are looking to their leaders to meet the moment,” the statement concluded.

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Original story: “We recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the covid crisis,” Collins and her colleagues wrote in a letter to the White House.

The package would reduce eligibility to a $1,400 stimulus check that is part of the Democrats’ plan. The proposal includes $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution, $4 billion for behavioral health and substance abuse, and offers another round of direct payments, CNN reported.

“We request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our proposal in greater detail and how we can work together to meet the needs of the American people during this persistent pandemic,” the group wrote.

Brian Deese, Biden’s top economic adviser told CNN that the White House is reviewing the letter and proposals.

“We’re open to that idea, we’re open to ideas that are across the board. What I want to reinforce is that if we’re going to look at ways of targeting, we need to look at how this plan is targeted overall,” Deese said. “What I will say is that the provisions of the President’s plan, the American Rescue plan, were calibrated to the economic crisis that we face.”