A group of Senate Republicans is urging President Joe Biden to meet with them to discuss their own proposal for a COVID-19 relief bill.
“We request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our proposal in greater detail and how we can work together to meet the needs of the American people during this persistent pandemic,” a letter signed by Senators including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) reads.
Their proposal includes $160 billion to enhance the nation’s capabilities in areas including vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, and treatment and supplies.
The senators noted their proposal includes another round of relief payments “for those families who need assistance the most, including their dependent children and adults.”
“Our plan also includes extending enhanced federal unemployment benefits at the current level and fully funding your request for nutrition assistance to help struggling families,” they added.
The lawmakers said they “share” Biden’s goal of providing additional assistance to small businesses.
They stressed the importance of sending children back to school.
“Finally, we note that billions of dollars remain unspent from the previous COVID relief packages. Just last month, Congress provided $900 billion in additional resources, and communities are only now receiving much of that assistance,” the senators wrote.
They went on, “Some of the spending appropriated through the CARES Act, passed last March, also has yet to be exhausted. The proposal we have outlined is mindful of these past efforts, while also acknowledging the priorities that need additional support right now.”
The group told Biden they “recognize” his calls for unity and “want to work in good faith with your Administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis.”
Biden told reporters on Friday he wants Republican support for his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but signaled he is willing to use budget reconciliation to pass it if he cannot acquire it, as IJR reported.
“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,” Biden said.