Today 10 Republicans sent a letter (full text here) to the Biden administration, proposing a much smaller COVID relief package, coming in at around $600 Billion, which is less than 1/3 of Biden's proposed $1.9 Trillion package.
The 10 Republicans include Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Jeff Stein, of the Washington Post reported that the proposal cuts 3 months of UI and $100 of the FPUC. ---- This means that UI/PEUC and PUA would only go through June and the FPUC would stay at $300 instead of bumping up to $400. It's appalling to watch legislators, who are supposed to be the most moderate of the Senate Republicans, try to cut money for their unemployed constituents in this pandemic.
It also cuts $400 off the stimulus checks, taking them from $1400 to $1000 AND targets them to less people, Americans with the "greatest need". There are no further details about how these out of touch Republicans who make $174,000/year intend to determine which Americans have the greatest need.
Their proposal also cuts:
— $350B for states & cities
— Monthly child benefit
— $15/hr minimum wage
— Parts of school $ (list not exhaustive)
Biden has agreed to meet with the group early this coming week, according to White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki. In the same statement Psaki also said "the need for action is urgent and the scale of what must be done is large." So we are hopeful this meeting is not with any intention to compromise, but rather just for good faith visibility.
Democrats in Leadership and throughout Congress have made it clear they are prepared to push relief through without Republican support. They are interested in a bipartisan solution, but not at the sacrifice of a robust package. They can pass much of it through budget reconciliation which only requires a simple majority to pass (In the Senate that would require 51 votes so every Democrat would have to vote yes and if there was a tie, VP Harris would break that tie). More on that here.
Speaker Pelosi said COVID relief was being discussed in committees last week with the intention of bringing something to the House floor this week. Senate Democrats have also said they could be ready as soon as this week to work on COVID relief.
TL;DR: Don't worry too much about the GOP shenanigans, but if one of the people who proposed this crap is your Senator, absolutely call them and give them an earful.
ExtendPUA.org's Official Statement on the Proposal:
"These Senators must be joking. Their proposal is not worth much more of a statement than that. The proposal is an insult to workers financially impacted by this crisis; these Senators should get into their communities and start listening to their constituents. Or they could just attend the constituent meetings ExtendPUA.org has requested instead of sending staff they clearly aren't listening to.
To President Biden and the Democrats we say, bipartisanship is not necessary for legislation when the other party isn't listening to Americans. We don't care about bipartisanship, at all. We want a robust bill that will get us through this crisis. It should include retroactive & continued unemployment support & direct aid. Stop attempting collaboration with people who are not operating in good faith with their constituents and just get it done for the American people. Go bigger than $1.9T. Compromise isn't working so the Democrats should push higher, if not at the Presidential level, then at the Congressional level. They have a responsibility to provide retroactivity after months of blaming inaction on Republican control."
-Stephanie Freed, Co-Founder, ExtendPUA.org
Take Action to support Biden's plan as a framework and push for the additions we need at ExtendPUA.org