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Biden will meet with Republican senators for stimulus bill talks

A group of ten GOP lawmakers sent a letter asking for a White House meeting to discuss the American Rescue Plan and Biden has agreed to hear their concerns.

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Biden will meet with Republican Senators for stimulus bill talks
KEVIN LAMARQUE REUTERS

A White House statement released on Sunday evening has confirmed that President Joe Biden will meet with Republican lawmakers to discuss the size and scope of the new covid-19 economic relief bill.

The Democrats had been expected to table Biden’s American Rescue Plan this week but the package has been the subject of criticism from those on the other side of the aisle. A number of GOP lawmakers had argued that the $1.9 trillion bill was too expensive, and have proposed a counter-offer.

Republican lawmakers send letter asking for White House meeting

In recent weeks GOP opposition to Biden’s proposal has snowballed and seemed to hit a critical mass on Sunday when ten Republican senators sent a letter requesting a meeting with Biden. They asked for “the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our proposal in greater detail and how we can work together to meet the needs of the American people during this persistent pandemic.”

Alongside this request were rough details of a counter-proposal to Biden’s $1.9 trillion package, which would require just $600 billion in federal funding. The group argued that their bill represents a more “targeted” approach, but it significantly reduces funding for stimulus checks and education.

The group of signatories includes Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Michael Rounds of South Dakota and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who are all considered to be on the moderate side of the Republican Party.

Biden eager to find a bipartisan solution to stimulus talks

The President’s willingness to meet with the group to discuss his flagship economic policy shows his commitment to the bipartisan style of governance which he built his election campaign on. Since taking office some have criticised his use of executive orders, arguing that he should have consulted Congress on some issues.

That had increased as leading Democrats confirmed that they would be willing to use reconciliation to pass the stimulus bill if Republicans chose not to support it. It would allow Biden to bypass the 60-vote supermajority usually required in the Senate.

The statement released by the White House on Sunday reads: "As has been widely reported, the President received a letter today from 10 Republican senators asking to meet with him to discuss their ideas about the actions needed to address these crises.”

“In response, the President spoke to Senator Collins, and invited her and other signers of the letter to come to the White House early this week for a full exchange of views."

Biden has hinted that he is open to negotiate on some elements of his stimulus bill, such as the eligibility requirements for the third round of stimulus checks. It comes as progressive voices from with Biden's own party have argued that the American Rescue Plan does not go far enough.

It remains to be seen if any significant changes will materialise, but you can follow all the latest news on our Third Stimulus Check | Live updates.