A group of GOP senators will be meeting with President Joe Biden on Monday to pitch a new COVID-19 relief plan that would include $20 billion for schools, but would send direct stimulus payments only to individuals earning $50,000 a year or less, or to couples earning up to $100,000.
According to a story in The Washington Post, the senators will meet with Biden to discuss an alternative aid package that would cost about a third of the $1.9 trillion bill proposed by Democrats.
In addition to a direct payment for those making $50,000 and below, and money for schools to reopen, the Republicans’ plan is said to include money to help small businesses, a continuation of federal unemployment benefits, and funds to support child care programs.
“Our proposal also includes economic relief for those Americans with the greatest need, providing more targeted assistance than in the Administration’s plan,” read a letter sent by the Republicans to the Biden Administration requesting a meeting.
“We propose an additional round of economic impact payments for those families who need assistance the most, including their dependent children and adults.”
“Our plan also includes extending enhanced federal unemployment benefits at the current level and fully funding your request for nutrition assistance to help struggling families. We share your goal of providing additional assistance for our small businesses. Included in our plan are additional resources to help our small businesses and their employees through the successful Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program,” the letter read.
While the GOP plan offers a direct payment to some Americans, the amount is less than what Democrats have proposed. The GOP plan suggests sending $1,000 to individuals making up to $50,000, while the plan proposed by Democrats would see individuals making $75,000 and couples making $150,000 get a $1,400 check.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said last week that he intended to move Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill forward as soon as possible.
“The Senate, as early as next week, will begin the process of considering a very strong COVID relief bill,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “We need recovery and rescue quickly. Everywhere you look, alarm bells are ringing.”
The Republican group set to meet with Biden on Monday includes Sens. Susan Collins, Maine; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Bill Cassidy, Louisiana; Mitt Romney, Utah; Rob Portman, Ohio; Shelley Moore Capito, Wyoming; Todd Young, Indiana; Jerry Moran, Kansas; Mike Rounds, South Dakota; and Thom Tillis, North Carolina.
Cassidy, in an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” said that the group had produced the bill to spur bipartisan cooperation on a needed economic stimulus bill.
“The President’s team did not reach out to anybody in our group, either Democrat or Republican, when they fashioned their proposal,” Cassidy said. “So if you want unity, if you want bipartisanship, you ought to start with a group that’s shown it’s willing to work together for a common solution. They did not.”
Democrats have slammed Republican suggestions that Biden’s plan gives too much money to Americans who do not need the money.
“Reasonable people can have honorable differences on the precise income limits of emergency tax relief. But there’s a degree of hutzpah in the GOP suddenly on their high horse on this point when they were just fine with permanently giving people who make over $5 million more tax relief than the bottom 60 percent of American taxpayers combined,” The New York Times quoted Gene Sperling as saying. Sperling is an economist who advised the Biden presidential campaign and served as former director of the White House National Economic Council under Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story indicated the Democrats’ proposed relief plan would total $1.9 billion. It is a $1.9 trillion plan.