A group of over a dozen senators, Democrat and Republican, has expressed unease with facets of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, highlighting concerns with the individual stimulus payments and reportedly telling the Biden White House the measure offers too much to higher-income earners.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reportedly set up the Sunday call between sixteen senators and Biden administration officials, which included Biden’s coronavirus coordinator, Jeff Zients, and director of the White House National Economic Council, Brian Deese. The conversation, which centered around the president’s coronavirus relief proposal, which he outlined this month, spanned over an hour as lawmakers reached a “consensus” that vaccine distribution should remain a priority. However, lawmakers also expressed concern that the proposal offers too much aid to higher-income earners.
According to Politico, some of the lawmakers “balked at the stimulus payments, urging the White House to make them targeted toward those in greater need, according to sources on the call.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was among them, questioning why a family making $300,000 would receive benefits under the proposal and identifying the overall price tag as a “concern.” Sen. Angus King (I-ME) felt similarly.
“This isn’t monopoly money,” he said, according to Politico.
Collins said she was “the first to raise that issue” regarding more targeted payments but added that there “seemed to be a lot of agreement.”
“I would say that it was not clear to me how the administration came up with its $1.9 trillion figure for the package,” she said.