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Republican Senators offer compromise on COVID relief

Ten Republican Senators led by Senator Susan Collins (ME) sent a memo to the White House requesting a meeting with President Biden to discuss potential compromise over the next round of COVID relief (https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/01/31/962554923/10-senate-republicans-plan-to-detail-slimmed-down-covid-19-counteroffer). They will be meeting with him Monday evening to discuss a smaller counter offer to his proposed $1.9 trillion relief package. The letter stated, "Our proposal also includes economic relief for those Americans with the greatest need, providing more targeted assistance than in the Administration's plan. We propose an additional round of economic impact payments for those families who need assistance the most, including their dependent children and adults."


This counter offer will be closer to $600 billion, allotting money for vaccine development and distribution, $1,000 stimulus checks to individuals making less than $40,000 a year, and money for continued unemployment benefits. Compared to Biden’s plan, missing from the Republican’s list is aid to state and local governments. Included in the letter were Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK), Todd Young (IN), Jerry Moran (KS), Thom Tillis (NC), Rob Portman (OH), Mike Rounds (SD), Mitt Romney (UT), Bill Cassidy (LA), and Shelley Moore Capito (WV).


The Biden Administration has been adamant about a new round COVID relief regardless of whether he gets bipartisan support or not. Economic Advisor Brian Deese said, "We're certainly open to input from anywhere where we can find a constructive idea to make this package as effective as possible, but the president is uncompromising when it comes to the speed that we need to act at to address this crisis." Biden has said that he will pass the bill with or without Republican support.


Regardless of whether either bill will pass, both will add to the exponentially growing national debt which is closing in on $28 trillion. While help is definitely needed, what are the long term implications going to be? New areas of the country are finally reopening for the first time in months while others are getting hit hard with hospitals becoming increasingly overwhelmed. There is an obvious need, but is throwing more money going to help the country in the long run?

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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