President Joe Biden will meet with a group of GOP senators on Monday to discuss a coronavirus relief plan, including a third stimulus check. The meeting comes as congressional Democrats prepare to move forward with Biden's $1.9 trillion relief plan, with the 10 Republican senators set to convene at the White House to propose an alternative COVID-19 package totaling around $600 billion.
Led by Susan Collins, the senators requested a meeting with the president over the weekend. In a letter, the group wrote, "in the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a COVID-19 relief framework that builds on prior COVID assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support," according to CBS News. The letter added that the more scaled-down package "reflects many of" Biden's "stated priorities" and expressed belief it could "be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support." The letter went on to read, "we request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our proposal in greater detail and how we can work together to meet the needs of the American people during this persistent pandemic." Later that day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a statement that Biden had spoken with Collins and invited the group to the White House.
"As has been widely reported, the President received a letter today from 10 Republican Senators asking to meet with him to discuss their ideas about the actions needed to address these crises," the statement read, according to The Hill. "In response, the President spoke to Senator Collins, and invited her and other signers of the letter to come to the White House early this week for a full exchange of views."
Psaki added that "the need for action is urgent, and the scale of what must be done is large." Citing top economists, she said, "the danger now is not in doing too much: it is in doing too little." In a joint statement, the group of senators said they "appreciate" Biden's "quick response to our letter, and we are pleased to accept his invitation to the White House tomorrow afternoon to discuss the path forward for the sixth bipartisan Covid-19 relief package."
The Monday meeting will come after the group of senators outlined their proposal earlier Sunday. The bill will reportedly total around $600 billion, which is less than a third of Biden's plan. Although Biden's proposal calls for $1,400 stimulus checks, this slim package would provide $1,000 checks to eligible Americans. It also includes funding for vaccines, extends unemployment benefits, and includes numerous other provisions, such as nutrition assistance, small business aid, and money for schools and child care.