KEY POINTS

  • Biden is open to scaling down stimulus checks for families earning more than $150,000 a year
  • A group of GOP senators urged Biden to consider a more targeted bill
  • Republicans proposed a $600 billion plan that includes checks and unemployment benefits

President Joe Biden on Sunday invited to the White House 10 GOP senators who have proposed roughly a third of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus amount requested by the president.

The invitation came a few hours after the group of Senate Republicans  — including Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — sent a letter directly to Biden asking him to consider a smaller, more targeted economic relief package. 

“As you proclaimed in your Inaugural Address, overcoming the challenges facing our nation 'requires the most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.' Heeding that important call, we welcome the opportunity to work with you in a bipartisan manner to combat the COVID-19 virus and provide continued support to families struggling during the pandemic,” the letter began.

“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 letter continued. 

Congress is set to vote as early as this week on a resolution that could lead to the passing of the latest pandemic stimulus package.

The Biden administration is open to scaling down the $1.9 trillion relief proposal that includes a third round of stimulus checks, but said the GOP’s $600 billion counter-proposal won’t “scratch the itch,” an administration official told CNN

The White House is open to reducing the amount of stimulus checks for American families earning more than $150,000 a year. 

The Republican’s plan includes $160 billion for coronavirus vaccines and for purchasing personal protective equipment for health care providers, $4 billion for health services, and $20 billion for schools. 

The GOP senators also said that they favor the extension of the government’s weekly unemployment benefits and giving Americans more stimulus checks. It's unclear how much the payments would amount to. The Republicans are expected to reveal more details about their counterproposal on Monday. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday evening confirmed that President Biden is scheduled to meet at the White House with the senators who co-wrote the letter. Psaki also noted that Biden had spoken to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about the legislation. 

“With the virus posing a grave threat to the country, and economic conditions grim for so many, the need for action is urgent, and the scale of what must be done is large,” Psaki pointed out. 

Just a few days into the job, US President Joe Biden and his top security officials have underscored support for allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and signaled Washington's rejection of China's disputed territorial claims in those areas Just a few days into the job, US President Joe Biden and his top security officials have underscored support for allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and signaled Washington's rejection of China's disputed territorial claims in those areas Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN