There will be a lot going on in the U.S. Senate during February. One the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins on February 8, the entire Senate will be locked in listening to testimony, evidence and defense arguments for an entire week. That’s all they will be able to work on during that time.
So what about the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that the Democrats want to push through for President Joe Biden? On Sunday, a group of 10 Republican Senators reached out to Biden to ask him to consider a smaller, alternative relief proposal.
Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio and five other Senators sent a letter to Biden, saying they would unveil details of their new proposal on Monday. “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 senators wrote.
“With your support, we believe Congress can once again craft a relief package that will provide meaningful, effective assistance to the American people and set us on a path to recovery,” the group wrote asking for a meeting with Biden in order to discuss the proposal.
The difference in this group’s plan is they feel it provides more targeted help to Americans facing the biggest needs. Included in it is $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracking, as well as treatment.
The new plan also directs funds for opening up schools around the nation safely, it extends federal unemployment benefits at the current level, and provides more direct payments for families that need assistance.
This will be a good, early test to see if Biden is serious about his talk of unity and working together.