Ten GOP senators call for bipartisan COVID-19 relief package, suggest less costly proposal

"Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support," the lawmakers said in a letter to President Biden.

Updated: February 1, 2021 - 11:22am

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Ten GOP senators have signed onto a letter to President Biden calling for a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package.

"In the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a COVID-19 relief framework that builds on prior COVID assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support," the letter notes. "Our proposal reflects many of your stated priorities, and with your support, we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support. We request 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."

The proposal would cost about $600 billion, Sen. Bill Cassidy said during an interview on Fox News Sunday. That price tag comes in significantly lower than Biden's $1.9 trillion proposal.

"Our proposal also includes economic relief for those Americans with the greatest need, providing more targeted assistance than in the Administration’s plan," the GOP lawmakers said in the letter.

The letter notes that billions of dollars in COVID relief funds remain unspent.

"Just last month, Congress provided $900 billion in additional resources, and communities are only now receiving much of that assistance," the letter says. "Some of the spending appropriated through the CARES Act, passed last March, also has yet to be exhausted. The proposal we have outlined is mindful of these past efforts, while also acknowledging the priorities that need additional support right now."

The Republican senators who signed the letter include the following: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, M. Michael Rounds of South Dakota and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.