Since the new year, we’ve almost heard exclusively about what Democrats are planning for the next stimulus bill.
We know that they have a $1.9 trillion proposal that contains many benefits including things like $1,400 stimulus checks, a raise of the federal minimum wage to $15, and many other benefits.
We’ve heard that this bill is possibly a starting point for negotiations but we have not heard any firm numbers from Republicans on what they might be willing to agree to.
That is until today.
10 Senate Republicans, led by Susan Collins of Maine, just proposed a counterproposal which includes an almost $600 billion package.
They said that they would release the full details of the package tomorrow but we already have a preliminary idea of some of the big details.
One of the most contentious issues will certainly be the changes that they want to make to stimulus checks.
First, they want to decrease the size of the new round of checks from $1,400 to $1,000.
They also want to adjust the income threshold for the payments. The income threshold would be lowered to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for couples.
This will definitely be a controversial move but Biden already indicated he is open to negotiating these limits so it is not out of the realm of possibility that these could change.
Another big change is that the GOP reportedly wants to keep the unemployment benefits at $300 per week instead of raising them to $400 and they only want them extended through June, not September.
Republican senators have also called out Biden for not reaching out across the aisle during the formation of their proposal.
“You don’t want bipartisanship. You want the patina of bipartisanship. … The president’s team did not reach out to anybody in our group, either Democrat or Republican, when they fashioned their proposal,” Cassidy said.
“They’ve never reached out to us — that’s the beginning of the bad faith.”
It will be very interesting to see how Democrats respond to this counter proposal once the full details are released on Monday.
There’s been significant talk about Democrats pursuing the budget reconciliation route which would effectively nullify the votes from the GOP on stimulus relief.
At the same time, if Democrats are super open to these negotiations and decide to go along with reduced stimulus checks, they are going to face significant backlash because they campaigned hard on that issue for the Georgia elections.
“The entire Democratic Party came together behind the candidates in Georgia — we made promises to the American people,” Bernie Sanders said.
“If politics means anything — if you’re going to have any degree of credibility — you can’t campaign on a series of issues … and then change your mind. That’s not how it works. We made promises to the American people; we’re going to keep those promises.”
Next week should be an interesting one.
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