Billions of dollars of coronavirus stimulus still hasn’t been spent, Republican senators say in letter to Biden
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
A group of ten Republican senators outlined a less expensive coronavirus relief compromise bill and said much of the past stimulus passed during the pandemic hasn’t been spent yet.
The proposed stimulus framework builds on prior legislation that passed with bipartisan support, the 10 senators wrote in the letter Sunday. The group, which included Sens. Mitt Romney, Thom Tillis, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, also requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the bill.
“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,” the Senators wrote. “Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support.”
The proposed legislation includes “robust and rapid” support for vaccine development and distribution as well as testing and tracing, according to the letter. Small businesses would receive additional assistance through the Paycheck Protection and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs.
In addition, the proposal includes another round of stimulus checks, but only for those most in need of the economic assistance.
The senators said their proposal is mindful of the fact that much of the past stimulus funding approved by Congress hasn’t been exhausted yet.
“We note that billions of dollars remain unspent from the previous COVID relief packages,” the senators said in the letter. “Just last month, Congress provided $900 billion in additional resources, and communities are only now receiving much of that assistance.”
The senators said Congress passed five separate coronavirus relief bills and all of the legislation received both Republican and Democratic support. They urged Biden to consider reaching across the aisle on his relief proposal.
“We recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your Administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis,” they said.
The other senators who signed onto the letter were Sens. Bill Cassidy, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, Todd Young, Jerry Moran and Mike Rounds. They said the complete details of their legislation would be released Monday.
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