Senate Republicans unveil $600B Covid proposal

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Senate Republicans Monday morning unveiled their $618 billion counterproposal to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan, ahead of a meeting between 10 GOP senators and Biden about whether they can work together.

The proposal would provide $160 billion for testing, vaccines and personal protective equipment, extend the $300 weekly unemployment insurance payments until July and provide $1,000 checks to lower-income Americans, according to a draft framework.

Those checks would begin phasing out much earlier than Biden’s plan and would be capped at $100,000 for joint filers. Dependents and children would receive an additional $500 each. People in both parties have complained that the $1,400 checks from Biden should not go to higher-income families.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and nine of her colleagues asked Biden for a meeting on the stimulus plan on Sunday as Democratic leaders prepared to pursue budget reconciliation this week, which would evade the Senate’s 60-vote requirement. Biden agreed to the meeting on Sunday night, and the senators will meet with the president at 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have complained that Republicans are coming in nowhere near Biden’s starting point for negotiations. But Republicans say Biden will start off his administration on the wrong foot if he doesn’t try to compromise with the GOP on coronavirus legislation.

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