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Biden Offers ‘Exchange Of Views’ Meeting To GOP Senators Who Countered $1.9 Trillion Relief Plan

   DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: The White House ground are covered in snow during a snow storm on January 31, 2021 in Washington, DC. Washington is expecting 3 to 5 inches of snow during the first major snow storm of the year.
Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President Joe Biden invited a small group of Republican senators to the White House next week for an “exchange of views” after they countered his COVID-19 relief plan with a much smaller proposal, the details of which they plan to release in-full on Monday.

“As has been widely reported, the President received a letter today from 10 Republican Senators asking to meet with him to discuss their ideas about the actions needed to address these crises,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday evening. “In response, 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.”

The White House didn’t appear to commit to offering a negotiation, and concluded by saying the scale of any COVID-19 relief package must be “large.” According to The Washington Post, the counter-proposal by the ten GOP senators would cost about $600 billion and would provide smaller stimulus checks for fewer people, funding for health care providers and supplies, and also provide resources for schools and childcare.

The group of GOP senators — Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) — said they were offering their proposal in the spirit of unity and bipartisanship.

“Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support,” said the group of Republican senators to Biden in the letter Sunday. “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.”

Biden told reporters Friday that he would be willing to take Republican support “if we can get it,” but he also said that COVID-19 relief had to pass “no ifs, ands, or buts.” Before the White House statement on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had already pushed back on the proposal in an interview with the New York Daily News, saying the GOP should “negotiate” instead of making a “take-it-or-leave-it offer.”

Some lawmakers, such as incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have said Democrats have enough votes to pass a relief bill through the “reconciliation” process, which can be used to pass some spending bills with a simple majority instead of a filibuster-proof majority.

Biden’s proposal, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, would cost $1.9 trillion. In the same statement explaining that Collins and others had been invited to the White House, the Biden administration suggested they weren’t willing to budge significantly on scale.

“The American Rescue Plan including $1,400 relief checks, a substantial investment in fighting COVID and reopening schools, aid to small businesses and hurting families, and funds to keep first responders on the job (and more) is badly needed,” said Psaki on Sunday. “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 this moment.”

The White House also said that Democratic leaders were prepared to take action on the Biden administration’s proposal beginning this week, another signal that room for any negotiations should they actually take place could be limited in scope.