10 GOP Senators plan to propose a new compromise COVID-19 bill which would shrink direct payments to Americans from $1,400 to $1,000

  • Ten GOP senators are planning to float a compromise COVID-19 bill capping stimulus payments at $50,000.
  • Under the GOP proposal, direct payments would be reduced from $1,400 to $1,000.
  • The senators want to meet with Biden and are urging Democrats not to push a package through via reconciliation.
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GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Sunday said that Republicans would encourage President Joe Biden to aim the new round of direct payments to Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

Portman is part of a group of 10 GOP lawmakers led by GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine who sent a letter to Biden on Sunday outlining a proposed $600 billion compromise plan, down sharply from the $1.9 trillion plan that was envisioned by Biden and most Democratic leaders.

Under the proposed GOP plan, the thresholds for direct payments would be $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for couples.

According to GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, direct payments would be lowered from the current $1,400 Democratic proposal to $1,000.

In addition to Portman, Collins, and Cassidy, the signers of the letter include GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Todd Young of Indiana.

Read more: The ultimate guide to Biden’s White House staff

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Portman, who just last week announced that he would retire in 2022 after two terms, implored Democrats not to push a large relief bill through Congress using the reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority.

Portman and the other nine GOP senators have called on Biden to act on his call for “unity” and confer with the GOP group in crafting a smaller compromise package.

“My hope is the president will meet with us,” Portman said. 

In December 2020, Congress passed a $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package, which included $600 direct payments to individual Americans and an extension in federal unemployment benefits.

At the time, Biden made it clear that the December package was only “a down payment” on a more comprehensive bill that he would seek to pass once he was in office.

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