The details of the COVID-19 relief package proposed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and nine other Republican senators as a counter to President Biden's plan are out.
The bill would cost a total of $618 billion, far below Biden's $1.9 trillion proposal. The two do find common ground on COVID-19 containment efforts like vaccine distribution and testing — both would allocate $160 billion in that category. But, there's not a lot of overlap elsewhere. The GOP package contains direct stimulus checks, but they begin at $1,000 per individual and begin phasing out for people who earn $40,000 per year with a cap at $50,000. The Biden plan, meanwhile, would provide $1,400 that begin phasing out at $75,000 per year with a $115,000 cap for individuals and $206,000 for couples.
The GOP bill would also extend enhanced unemployment insurance through June at $300 per week, compared to Biden's $400 per week, which would last through September. Funds for school reopening, rental and landlord support, and state and local government aid are other areas that are either diminished or cut entirely from the GOP plan.
Biden has agreed to sit down with the senators behind the bill, but earlier reports indicated Democratic lawmakers don't believe it's worth entertaining, so the meeting may just be a formality. Tim O'Donnell