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Biden To Meet With GOP Senators To Discuss COVID-19 Relief

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President Joe Biden is expected to meet with Republican lawmakers on Monday to discuss coronavirus relief.

The president received a letter from 10 Senate Republicans requesting he meets with them to discuss their own COVID-19 relief proposal and “how we can work together to meet the needs of the American people during this persistent pandemic.”

“The president spoke to Senator Collins, and invited her and other signers of the letter to come to the White House early this week for a full exchange of views,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday evening.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) are among the 10 senators who penned a letter to Biden on Sunday, noting their proposal “includes a total of $160 billion to enhance our capabilities” in areas like vaccine development and distribution, as well as testing and tracing, treatment and supplies.

It also “mirrors” Biden’s “request for $4 billion to bolster our behavioral health and substance abuse services.” Additionally, the proposal includes another round of economic impact payments, “extending enhanced federal unemployment benefits,” and helping small businesses, among other areas.

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Their proposal is one-third of Biden’s desired $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief aid.

According to the president’s public schedule, he will meet with Republican senators about the American Rescue Plan at 5 p.m. EST on Monday.

In the White House press secretary’s statement, she also noted that Biden spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday.

“[Biden] is grateful that Congress is prepared to begin action on the American Rescue Plan in just his second full week in office,” Psaki wrote.

She also added:

“As leading economists have said, the danger now is not in doing too much: it is in doing too little. Americans of both parties are looking to their leaders to meet the moment.”

On Thursday, Schumer said that the Senate, “as early as next week, will begin the process of considering a very strong Covid relief bill,” as IJR reported.

He added in his remarks on the Senate floor, “But if our Republican colleagues decide to oppose this urgent and necessary legislation, we will have to move forward without them.”

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Biden said outside of the White House on Friday, “I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it. But, the COVID relief has to pass. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts.”

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