President Biden is scheduled to meet today with 10 GOP Senators to discuss their alternative to Biden’s proposed 1.9 trillion Covid Relief package. The alternative package would include reducing relief checks to $1,000 and targeting those checks to families and individuals with incomes lower than Biden’s package proposes. The $600 billion price tag of the counter-offer is fully two thirds less than the current plan, and the pitch from the GOP is that bi-partisanship and ” unity” are more important at this point than meeting the needs of tens and tens of millions of American families struggling to pay rent and put food on the table. Also absent from the counter-offer is aid to state and local governments, many of whom are also struggling in the wake of the pandemic related economic downturn.
Don’t do it, Joe! I’m sure you remember that, less than four weeks ago, you told voters in Georgia that if they elected Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the United States Senate $2,000 checks would go out ” immediately”. That’s what you said. You didn’t say ” unless we can get bi-partisan support for a smaller relief package”. People all over the country were watching those Georgia runoffs closely, much like it was a national election. A lot of people heard you say that, or read your words. A lot. Think about that for a minute.
It’s a political trap, Joe. The republicans know that if they can convince you to go back on your word this early in your administration it could have a profound impact on the 2022 mid-terms, an impact not in the democrats favor. Choosing bi-partisanship over what the country needs is bad policy and bad politics. With coronavirus variants on the loose we could see another spike in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as economic trouble, in the months ahead. This is no time to indulge disingenuous republicans advancing a stealth political agenda. You need to deliver on your campaign promises.
Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders told ABC host Martha Raddatz yesterday that he believes democrats have the votes to pass your relief package through the budget reconciliation process. Sanders said ” we have got to act, and we have got to act now”.
He’s right, Joe. Respond to what the country needs, not to hollow calls for “unity” from posturing republicans. You campaigned on unifying the country, not the United States Senate. This is your moment. Seize it.