TEN SENATE REPUBLICANS PROPOSE COVID-19 PACKAGE. Over the weekend, a group of 10 Senate Republicans sent a letter to President Joe Biden to request a meeting to begin bipartisan negotiations on the next COVID-19 relief package. It is reported that the 10 Senate Republicans have developed a proposal that would cost $600 billion, which is less than a third of the price of the Biden Administration’s $1.9 trillion proposal. It is also reported that the Senate Republican package includes $1,000 in stimulus checks to certain Americans, $35 billion for the Provider Relief Fund and $20 billion for vaccines. These Senators are set to meet with President Biden later today (February 1) and more information on their proposal is likely to be made available throughout the week.
DIFFERENCES IN COVID-19 PROPOSALS. However, vast difference in price tag between the Republican proposal and the Biden Administration proposal shows the impending chaos that will ensue in Washington over this next COVID-19 package. The fact that 10 Republicans are proposing a deal is important because if 10 Republicans join all Democrats in the Senate on a COVID-19 package, they can overcome the filibuster and pass a bill. However, the vast majority of Democrats want to do far more in COVID-19 relief than what the Republicans have proposed. It is also unclear if any additional Republicans will join onto this deal. If a compromise cannot be reached, President Biden may have to abandon bipartisan efforts and lead Democrats to go it alone through reconciliation.
EYES ON JOE MANCHIN. If reconciliation is the process that moves the next COVID-19 relief package, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) becomes extremely important. Senator Manchin is a moderate Democrat who may not vote in line with the rest of the party. Democrats cannot pass a COVID-19 package through reconciliation without his vote, so his priorities in the COVID-19 package will become extremely important in a final deal.
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