KEY POINTS

  • Several lawmakers indicated their opposition to Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill
  • Senators Murkowski and Romney said it may be too early to pass another economic package
  • A group of bipartisan senators are set to meet with an economic adviser in the next few days

A third round of stimulus payments may face some delays as President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan faces opposition from several Congressional members. 

The latest stimulus plan, which the Biden administration unveiled on Jan. 14, features a list of spending measures that includes a boost to weekly unemployment benefits, funds for schools, a raise to the minimum wage and a $1,400 direct payments. 

While President Biden is looking to gain bipartisan support for the package, early critiques from both Democrats and Republicans could force the administration to pull back on some of its aims. 

On Wednesday Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the Senate's second-most senior Republican woman, spoke to reporters following Biden’s inauguration to express her hesitation in supporting a new bill after Congress approved a $900 billion package in December. 

“The ink is just barely dry on the $900 billion, and what the president is proposing is significant -- $1.9 trillion. It’s going to require I think a fair amount of debate and consideration,” Murkowski told reporters. 

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a member of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who helped push last month’s $900 billion bill, also indicated Wednesday that he was hesitant to pass another measure. 

“We just passed a program with over $900 billion in it. I’m not looking for a new program in the immediate future,” Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts who ran for president in 2008 and 2012, said. 

On Jan. 8, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he would oppose another round of relief checks to Americans. However, the former West Virgnia governor indicated that he may support checks that are targeted at people who really need them. 

“I don’t know where in the hell $2,000 came from. I swear to God I don’t. That’s another $400 billion dollars,” Manchin told The Washington Post. “If they can direct money and they say, ‘This will help stimulate the economy,’ hell yeah I’m for it.”

A group of bipartisan senators are scheduled to meet with the National Economic Council Director Brian Deese in the coming days to discuss the spending measures in Biden’s proposed plan. The meeting could open a path to pass the measure without lawmakers having to debate what's in it.

President Joe Biden signing executive orders soon after his inauguration on Wednesday President Joe Biden signing executive orders soon after his inauguration on Wednesday Photo: AFP / Jim WATSON