Sen. Cassidy calls for bipartisan compromise on COVID-19 relief

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Senator Bill Cassidy admits Senate Democrats can pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican votes. But that doesn’t mean he wants them to do it.

Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, has proposed a smaller $618 billion relief plan with nine other Senate Republicans. He considers the counter-proposal more palatable within his party.

“We think it would be better to have a bipartisan package as opposed to one that is rammed through,” he said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Here’s how the two proposals differ:

BIDEN RELIEF PLAN ($1.9 trillion)GOP RELIEF PLAN ($618 billion)
$1,400 direct payments$1,000 direct payments
$170 billion for schools$20 billion for schools
$400/week unemployment insurance for six months$300/week unemployment insurance for three months
$350 billion to state/local governmentsNo money to state/local governments
A tale of two COVID-19 relief proposals.

Cassidy — with a team of moderate Republicans — met with Biden on Monday, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hinted the Democratic president won’t budge on his plan.

Democrats have launched the process of passing Biden’s proposal through budget reconciliation. The process would let them advance their package with 51 votes rather than 60. Because 50 senators and Vice President Kamala Harris are Democrats, passage would not require any Republican support.

The senator voiced doubt Tuesday on whether the final product would include the ideas he and his party have raised.

“I don’t even know if we’ll get it done at all, man,” he said.

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