Republicans Take Their Relief Plan to Biden

Collins says they'll keep talking, but Democrats are setting up passage of president's proposal
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2021 7:40 PM CST
Republicans Take Their Relief Plan to Biden
Sen. Susan Collins speaks to reporters after leaving the White House on Monday night. Listening, from left, are Sens. Bill Cassidy, Jerry Moran, Todd Young, Lisa Murkowski, Shelley Moore Capito, Thom Tillis, Mitt Romney, and Rob Portman.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican senators who presented their own, much smaller, coronavirus relief package to President Biden on Monday night said the two sides will keep working together—but there's no deal yet. The president met with 10 GOP senators in the Oval Office for almost two hours, the Washington Post reports. "It was a very good exchange of views. I wouldn’t say we came together on a package tonight. No one expected that in a two-hour meeting," said Collins, who organized the Republican effort. "But what we did agree to do is follow up and talk further, at the staff level and amongst ourselves and with the president and vice president, on how we can continue to work together on this very important issue." Biden's plan costs $1.9 trillion; the Republicans' runs about $618 billion.

White House aides said Biden wanted to hear about the GOP package and is ready to negotiate details, and Collins said the president gave a complete explanation. But there are no signs that Democrats are interested in a proposal one-third the size of Biden's, per the New York Times, concerned that it won't be enough to help people who are struggling. "The risk is not that it is too big, this package," the White House press secretary said earlier in the day. "The risk is that it is too small." Congressional Democrats began Monday to move toward being able to pass the legislation without any Republican votes. "Congress has a responsibility to quickly deliver immediate comprehensive relief to the American people hurting from COVID-19," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. (Read more economic stimulus package stories.)

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