GOP senator calls Biden's COVID-19 relief plan a 'non-starter'

Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRoy Blunt has helped forge and fortify the shared bonds between Australia and America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (Mo.) on Thursday said President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, is a “non-starter.” 

“I suspect the whole package is a non-starter,” Blunt told reporters, though he acknowledged there are elements of it that can secure bipartisan support. 

“But it’s got plenty of starters in it, and a lot of them are things that we proposed in terms of more assistance to the states. I think we’re ready to look at what it takes to move forward as effectively and quickly as we can on vaccine distribution, on securing what we need for the future in terms of [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” Blunt added.

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“There are some things in there that aren’t going to happen and there are some things that can happen,” he added.

One of the biggest sticking points is Biden’s proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Other red flags for Republicans are expanding paid leave for workers and providing $350 billion to state and local governments.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight MORE (R-Utah), an influential centrist, said Thursday that Congress should wait before passing another major relief bill, noting former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE signed a $900 billion rescue package at the end of last year.

“I feel that the announcement of a new $1.8 trillion [sic] stimulus package is not well-timed. We just passed a $900 billion-plus package. Let’s give that some time to be able to influence the economy,” he said. “We of course had on a bipartisan basis developed what we thought were effective ways of helping the people that needed the help most.

Romney said Biden’s proposal is “going to find a less receptive audience among my colleagues." 

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“I certainly know that for myself,” he added. 

Republicans are already critical of Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott says police reform talks collapsed with Dems over funding Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies Democrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday pressed Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWe don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill MORE, Biden’s pick to head the Treasury Department, on how increasing the minimum wage would impact small businesses.

“I asked @JanetYellen how raising the minimum wage to $15 affects the millions of #smallbiz on the brink of closing. Her answer was disappointing & didn’t mention the 3.7 million jobs the @USCBO estimates will be lost. I’ll fight to protect businesses from these damaging policies,” Scott tweeted, referring to the Congressional Budget Office.

Biden’s plan would more than double the current federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25.