WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Ten Republican senators will go to the White House late Monday afternoon to meet with Democratic President Joe Biden to discuss what to do about COVID-19 relief.
Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion package. Republicans have put forth competing package with a price tag of about $600 billion. According to a White House statement, the two sides will “exchange views on their two different COVID relief plans.”
“(The president) is open to ideas where ever they may come from,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council and Biden’s chief economist, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
While he said the White House is open to bipartisan compromise, he went on to say the president’s plan is the bold action the country needs.
“What he’s uncompromising about is the need to move with speed,” Deese said. “We have a virus crisis. We have an economic crisis.”
The Republicans’ plan includes billions for vaccine distribution, targeted relief checks and money for small businesses.
“We’re targeted to the needs of the American people, treating our tax dollars like they’re our tax dollars and not just money to spend,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Much of what the administration has laid out has nothing to do with COVID-19,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, argued on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said she would support a bipartisan effort. But she also said Democrats — who now hold a majority in both chambers of Congress — are prepared to move forward amid looming deadlines with or without Republicans.
“We welcome our friends across the aisle to be a part of a solution,” she said. “If there is an unwillingness to keep in mind the people, the small businesses, our communities, then we’ll get the job done.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has signaled plans to advance Biden’s plan as early as this week.