On Sunday, a group of 10 Republican Senators wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, saying the 10 of them were willing to support $600 billion in coronavirus relief spending, but not the $1.9 trillion that Biden has proposed—in other words, one-third of the amount on offer. Signing the letter were Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Bill Cassidy (LA), Mitt Romney (UT), Rob Portman (OH), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Todd Young (IN), Jerry Moran (KS), Mike Rounds (SD), and Thom Tillis (NC).
What’s does the package offered by the 10 GOP senators contain? And what is lost when you cut out $1.3 trillion, an amount that is the equivalent of nearly $4,000 per person living in the United States? Some headline differences include the following:
- Relief checks: The Biden plan would provide $1,400 per person, including children, for individuals with incomes below $75,000 (and couples below $150,000). The GOP plan would provide $1,000 per adult, $500 per child for individuals with incomes below $40,000 and couples making $80,000 or less. Effectively, the GOP cuts the amount sent out in relief checks in half, reducing the cost of this line item by (depending on your estimate) $205–245 billion.
- Unemployment insurance: The Biden plan would provide $400 a week in supplemental payments until September 30th. The GOP plan would provide $300 a week until the end of June. This effectively cuts unemployment insurance spending by more than half, trimming another $160-220 billion.
But, of course, these two cuts only trim of $400 billion (or so) of the $1.3 trillion cut. A full comparison—with estimates from the GOP senators drawing on a chart published yesterday by MarketWatch—reveals cuts in far more areas:
|Biden Proposal||GOP Senators’ Proposal|
|Direct pandemic assistance|
|Mental health/domestic violence support|
|Aid to schools|
|State and local governments|
|Childcare tax credit expansion|
|Paid family/sick leave|
|Health insurance subsidies|
|Rent, utilities, homelessness support|
When NPQ reviewed the Biden plan nearly two weeks ago, we noted that the plan made nods toward three areas of establishing social rights. The $1,400 relief checks are not completely universal, but at least hint toward the concept of a universal basic income. Childcare tax credit provisions, along with an associated proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, hint toward the idea of a living wage. And the paid family leave provision would allow the US to become the 180th na