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‘It was a good meeting,’ Sen. Cassidy, nine GOP senators wrap up COVID relief package meeting with Biden

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 7:15 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2021 at 10:23 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and nine other GOP senators wrapped up a nearly two-hour meeting Monday night with President Joe Biden, discussing two different COVID relief packages. But, no deal has been struck as of now.

“He was very respectful with us. Very patient. It was a good meeting,” said Sen. Cassidy, on “The News with Shepard Smith on CNBC.

The Republican senators are testing the president’s message of bipartisanship. They offered a slimmed-down version of the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, presenting a $618 billion plan. how much the president will compromise on his proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

”There was common ground that we have got to take care of the American people. The president said, listen we may agree on some things, but we are not going to disagree on the need to take care of those in need,” said Sen. Cassidy.

But, going into Monday’s meeting, the two parties were far apart on the numbers. The president’s proposed $1,400 stimulus payments would be cut to $1,000 under the GOP plan. Republican senators kept the president’s allocation for vaccine rollout the same at $160 billion. But, instead of Mr. Biden’s $170 billion for his school reopening plan, the 10 senators cut it to $20 billion.

“If we are driven by data we will come to the right figure, that figure should not be foreordained,” said Sen. Cassidy.

On social media on Monday, the president said the time to act is now.

“Hardworking Americans need help and they need it now,” said President Biden in a Facebook post. “That’s why I’m calling on Congress to immediately pass my American Rescue Plan.”

Hardworking Americans need help and they need it now. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to immediately pass my American...

Posted by President Joe Biden on Monday, February 1, 2021

In Congress, Democrats don’t have to stretch their hands across the aisle. They say they can pass Biden’s plan through a special process called “budget reconciliation”. Basically, that means they only need a simple majority of 51 votes instead of 60.

“The question is not bipartisanship. The question is addressing the unprecedented crisis that we face right now,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, on ABC’s “This Week.” “If Republicans want to work with us, they have their ideas on the crisis, that’s great. But to be honest with you, I have not yet heard that.”

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