Smaller Covid stimulus

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The senators explained that their version of the Covid relief package provides “more targeted assistance” to Americans with the greatest need.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said the proposal would be a slimmer version of what was presented by the Biden administration.

The Democratic-controlled House is set to pass a budget resolution this week, the first step toward approving the $1.9 trillion relief bill through reconciliation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he believes Senate Democrats have the votes to pass the bill through reconciliation.

A group of Republican senators asked President Biden to work with them on a $600 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief effort as Democrats prepared to move forward on a $1.9 trillion package without GOP support.

In a letter Sunday, the 10 centrist Republican senators asked to meet with Mr. Biden to present details of their proposal and said they were coming forward in response to his appeal for bipartisanship.

The GOP proposal would cost around $600 billion, according to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R., La.), who signed the letter, less than one-third of what Mr. Biden has proposed. Republicans said they would retain the $160 billion the Biden package includes to increase vaccinations and take other efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, but strip or scale back other measures. The GOP plan, for instance, would reduce the $1,400 direct payments to Americans Mr. Biden has called for to roughly $1,000, Mr. Cassidy said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Ten Republican senators announced plans Sunday to release an approximately $600 billion coronavirus relief package as a counterproposal to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, posing a test for the new president who campaigned as a bipartisan dealmaker.

The senators, led by Susan Collins (R-Maine), said they would formally unveil the package on Monday. In a letter to Biden, they requested to meet with him and said they were offering their proposal in recognition of his “calls for unity.”

“We want to work in good faith with you and your administration to meet the health, economic and societal challenges of the covid crisis,” they wrote.

Ten moderate Republican U.S. senators urged Democratic President Joe Biden on Sunday to significantly downsize his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package to win bipartisan support as Democrats in Congress prepared to push ahead with his plan this week.

A top White House economic adviser signaled willingness to discuss the ideas raised by Republican senators who floated a $600 billion alternative, but said the president was not willing to compromise on the need for a comprehensive bill to address the public health crisis and economic fallout.

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