GOP Senators Hope to Find 'Path Forward' for COVID Relief with Joe Biden Meeting

A group of 10 Republican senators hope to find a "path forward" for a COVID-19 relief bill being passed in a bipartisan manner when they meet with President Joe Biden on Monday.

Susan Collins (R-ME) and nine of her GOP colleagues from the upper chamber wrote a letter to Biden on Sunday in regard to a proposal they feel could achieve bipartisan support in Congress.

After receiving this message, which also contained a request to meet, Biden spoke with Collins, inviting her and the other signatories to the White House.

"We appreciate the President's quick response to our letter, and we are pleased to accept his invitation to the White House tomorrow afternoon to discuss the path forward for the sixth bipartisan Covid-19 relief package," a joint statement from the senators said.

In their initial letter to Biden, the Senators spoke of the framework building on prior actions which passed with bipartisan support.

"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," they stated.

The proposal includes $160 billion for areas such as vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, producing personal protective equipment as well as other aspects of treatment for COVID-19.

"We agree with you that continuing to build our capacity in these areas is crucial to overcoming the pandemic," the senators previously told Biden, in their initial letter.

In terms of Economic Impact Payments, often referred to as stimulus checks, the group said these would remain included but be made more targeted.

"Our proposal also includes economic relief for those Americans with the greatest need, providing more targeted assistance than in the Administration's plan," the letter stated.

"We propose an additional round of economic impact payments for those families who need assistance the most, including their dependent children and adults."

The Biden administration has proposed another round of $1,400 payments, distributed along the same eligibility markers as the last $600 round to make a combined total of up to $2,000.

However, there have been questions over this and whether it should be more targeted.

Republican lawmakers have previously detailed skepticism over the cost of Biden's pitch.

On the other hand, some Democrats are pushing for there to be more direct payments—wanting these to be recurring as the pandemic continues.

Amid these splits, Biden has expressed his desire for whatever legislation is passed to be done so in a bipartisan manner.

Other Democrats are weighing up options to potentially bypass this. There has been the suggestion of using reconciliation to get the package through without needing any Republican support.

The pitch from the 10 Republicans has also faced criticism from several Democrats.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and Collins for comment.

susan collins at confirmation hearing
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) arrives for the confirmation hearing for Director of National Intelligence nominee Avril Haines before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill January 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. She is one of 10 Republican senators outlining a bipartisan framework on COVID-19 relief to President Joe Biden. Melina Mara/Pool/Getty Images