GOP senators unveil $618 billion coronavirus proposal ahead of Biden meeting

A group of 10 GOP senators unveiled an estimated $618 billion coronavirus proposal on Monday ahead of a meeting with President BidenJoe BidenTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan The business case for child care reform MORE to discuss relief legislation.

“Mr. President, we recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your Administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis," the senators said in a joint statement.

The group will meet with Biden and Vice President Harris at 5 p.m., according to the White House's schedule.

The group includes GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsAgainst mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan Trump's early endorsements reveal GOP rift The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiNixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan GOP Senate campaign arm awards Trump as he rails against McConnell MORE (Alaska), Bill CassidyBill CassidyCalls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general MORE (La.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' Trump's early endorsements reveal GOP rift Two sheriff's deputies shot by gunman in Utah MORE (Utah), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks GOP Ohio Senate candidate asked to leave RNC retreat MORE (Ohio), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate America's infrastructure: You get what you pay for MORE (W.Va.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Senate Republicans voice opposition to Biden on Iran Biden infrastructure proposal prioritizes funds for emerging technologies MORE (Ind.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranBipartisan lawmakers call for action on anti-hate crime measures Republicans don't think Biden really wants to work with them Trump allies line up ahead of potentially bruising primaries MORE (Kan.), Mike RoundsMike RoundsCongress looks to rein in Biden's war powers Columbine and the era of the mass shooter, two decades on GOP senator tweets statue of himself holding gun to Biden: 'Come and take it' MORE (S.D.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings GOP senator recovering from surgery for prostate cancer Congress must address the toxic exposure our veterans have endured MORE (N.C.).


The Republican proposal totals $618 billion, according to details released by Collins's office on Monday morning. That is roughly a third of the $1.9 trillion plan proposed by Biden and backed by congressional Democrats.

The proposal includes $160 billion in pandemic response funding including protective equipment and more money for vaccine distribution. It also extends the $300 per week federal unemployment benefit through June 30.

The bill includes a $1,000 direct payment, compared to the $1,400 direct payment in Biden's plans, with $500 for adult dependents and children. The proposal also lowers the income cap for qualifying for the direct assistance.

Under previous coronavirus bills, individuals who make up to $75,000 would receive the check, with the amount of the payment phasing out after that. But under the GOP proposal individuals who make up to $40,000 would get a $1,000 check, with the amount of the check phasing out altogether at $50,000.

It also includes $20 billion in additional funding for schools, $20 billion in child care funding, an additional $50 billion in small business aid, $12 billion for nutrition assistance and $4 billion for behavioral health resources.

"We look forward to discussing our proposal in detail with you this afternoon at the White House," the GOP senators added.


The meeting comes a day after Republican senators said in a letter to Biden that they had drafted a proposal and requested a meeting. Biden subsequently called Collins, whom he previously served with in the Senate and who has been taking the lead on bipartisan talks, to invite the group to the White House. 

Democrats are nearing a decision point on whether they will move forward with their $1.9 trillion plan, which will require passing it without GOP votes, or negotiate a substantially smaller bill if Senate Republicans guarantee they will provide the 10 votes needed to get over the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police Israel gets tough with Iran as Biden signals shift from Trump Shocking killing renews tensions over police MORE indicated on Monday that Biden would not be cutting a deal with Republicans during the meeting.

"What this meeting is not is a forum for the president to make or accept an offer," Psaki said.

She added that Biden believes the final package "needs to be closer to what he proposed" and that the risk was not a relief package that was too big but "the risk is that it is too small."

"That remains his view and it’s one he’ll certainly express today," Psaki said.

In addition to talking to Collins, Biden spoke with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAgainst mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan Charles Booker launches exploratory committee to consider challenge to Rand Paul Top academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTop academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act NY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing 'to balance the conservative majority' The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally MORE (D-N.Y.) on Sunday. 

The House is scheduled to vote on a budget resolution this week that will include reconciliation instructions that will allow Congress to draft and ultimately pass a coronavirus bill with only a simple majority in the House and Senate.

Going it alone will test Democratic unity just weeks into Biden's administration. Democrats have a slim majority in the House and the 50-member entire Senate Democratic caucus would need to support both the budget resolution and the subsequent coronavirus legislation in order to pass it without GOP support.

Democrats are split over whether or not including a $15 minimum wage increase complies with arcane Senate rules that govern what can, and cannot, pass through reconciliation. A stand-alone bill from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAmazon workers have spoken — are progressives listening? What's really behind Joe Biden's far-left swing? It's time to declare a national climate emergency MORE (I-Vt.) only has the support of an additional 37 senators.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinNixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan Democrats face mounting hurdles to agenda MORE (D-W.Va.) refused to tell reporters late last week if he would vote for the budget resolution if it's used to set up a Democratic-only coronavirus bill.

"We’re gonna try to make Joe Biden successful. I don’t understand why y’all don’t understand what I’m saying," he said amid several questions about his vote.


But Schumer, speaking to reporters in New York on Sunday, vowed to move forward on a bigger plan if Democrats couldn't get GOP support.

“We intend to move forward. We hope that we can move forward with a bipartisan way with our Republican colleagues cooperating. But we need big, bold action and if we can’t move forward with them, we’ll have to move forward on our own. Getting the job done in a big bold way is the number one priority," he said.

Updated at 1:22 p.m.