WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRPROUD) — Sen. Bill Cassidy joined nine other Senate Republicans Monday at the White House, where they pitched their COVID-19 relief goals to President Joe Biden.
Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, has spearheaded the $600 billion proposal — dubbed an alternative to Biden’s $1.9 trillion idea. His White House meeting comes after he and members of his party wrote the Democratic president a letter.
“Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities,” the Senate Republicans wrote, referring to their own outline. “With your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support.”
The GOP-led plan would offer $1,000 stimulus checks, rather than the $1,400 ones pitched by the Biden administration. It, like the president’s proposal, would put $160 billion toward vaccinations and $4 billion toward behavioral health and substance abuse services.
“We recognize your 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,” the Republicans wrote.
The letter’s cosigners include senators: Cassidy, Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Biden has voiced willingness to compromise with Senate Republicans, but should negotiations fail, the Senate’s top Democrat introduced a backup plan Monday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) budget resolution would let Democrats pass a relief bill without any Republican support.
Congress has passed COVID-19 relief bills since the pandemic began, totaling more than $4 trillion.