President Joe Biden will meet with a group of 10 Republicans to discuss their alternate $600 billion coronavirus relief package.
Biden is prepared to move forward with the $1.9 trillion relief package he unveiled last month, with or without GOP support. However, the GOP group, led by Maine Sen. Susan Collins, requested the meeting Sunday and the White House quickly accepted saying it was ready for a “full exchange of ideas.”
The other GOP Sens. are Lisa Murkowski (AL), Mitt Romney (UT), Rob Portman (OH), Shelly Moore Capito (WV), Todd Young (IN), Jerry Moran (KS), Mike Rounds (SD), and Thom Tills (NC).
The GOP package includes $160 billion toward public health (vaccine distribution, personal protective equipment, support for healthcare providers, $20 billion for schools, and $4 billion for behavioral health and substance abuse services.
The package also includes an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits, additional resources for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to help small businesses.
However, the package is already receiving pushback from Democrats who feel the package is too little, too late.
“When we talk about unity and bipartisanship, remember that when Republicans had control, they pushed through an almost $2 trillion program which consisted of tax breaks for the wealthiest people and the largest corporations…we’ve got to go ahead right now,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said according to Fox News.
Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib also tweeted her feelings on Republicans complaining about the federal debt today when former President Donald Trump’s tax cuts added trillions to the country’s debt.
Real talk: During a global health crisis and a historic economic hardship, this is not the time to "compromise" our residents. The QanonGOP jammed through tax cuts and goodies for their corporate pals. Now, let's jam for the people. Reconciliation if they don't want to play ball. https://t.co/z83F4Kswpe
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 31, 2021
]”The president said in his inauguration speech that he wanted to work with both sides in order to help the American people,” Richmond said. “What we know about President Biden is it’s never about him, it’s always about the people. So yes, he’s very willing to meet with anyone to advance the agenda.”
Some progressives want Biden to push the GOP Senators to publicly acknowledge that Biden won the Presidential Election before he agrees to meet with them, while others believe the GOP hopes they can slow down the Democrat-led legislation.