Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine appeared to throw cold water on President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion bill ostensibly aimed at blunting the economic impacts of the spread of novel coronavirus, questioning why a package that big was necessary.
”We just passed $900 billion worth of assistance. Why we would have a package that big now?” Collins asked, as reported by CNN reporter Manu Raju in a Twitter post. ”Maybe a couple of months from now the needs will be evident and we will need to do something significant. But I’m not seeing it right now.”
Collins and fellow Mainer Sen. Angus King, a Republican-turned-Independent, are to meet virtually this weekend as part of a group of 16 ”centrist” senators with National Economic Council Director Brian Deese about the package, according to Bangor, Maine, NBC television network affiliate WLBZ.
The remarks by Collins are being interpreted as a blow to Biden’s plan, according to Newsweek. With a 50-50 Senate, Collins’ vote is considered essential to be able to overcome a 60-vote filibuster in the Senate.
Many Republicans have derided the so-called stimulus bill as a Democrat ”wish list” of liberal political priorities. Besides including a $1,400 per person cash payment — in addition to the $600 per person payment in the December bill — as well as money for coronavirus vaccinations, testing, etc., the measure also includes funding for cybersecurity, transit, wages, and healthcare ,among other things unrelated to COVID-19, Axios reported.
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