US Republicans invited to White House for relief bill

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ANKARA, FEB 1 – US President Joe Biden has invited a group of Republican senators to discuss his $1.9 trillion relief plan, the White House said in a statement on Sunday.

The president received a letter from 10 GOP senators who asked to meet with him in the White House to discuss their ideas about the actions needed to address the pandemic-led economic crisis.

“We recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your Administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis,” Republicans, led by Senator Susan Collins from Maine, wrote in their letter.

The White House said in the statement “The American Rescue Plan – including $1400 relief checks, a substantial investment in fighting COVID and reopening schools, aid to small businesses and hurting families, and funds to keep first responders on the job (and more) – is badly needed.”

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, however, told Fox News on Sunday that the GOP’s relief bill proposal would total $600 billion and include direct payments of $1,000 instead.

The much-awaited relief bill failed to pass the Congress before the 2020 US presidential election on Nov. 3, while more than 10 million Americans and thousands of small businesses await some sort of stimulus.

The US Congress on Dec. 22 approved a $900 billion package, which only offers some temporary relief and does not include funding for state and local governments.