Joe Biden Says Good Day, Moderate Republicans, HE SAYS GOOD DAY SIRS.
Photo: Gage Skidmore (2019), Creative Commons License 2.0

President Joe Biden met with a group of 10 Republicans Monday night to hear their proposal for a much much smaller coronavirus and economic stimulus plan than his own $1.9 trillion "MONEY FOR MERICA PLEASE" plan, after which the White House made clear to the Republicans that, "Nuh-uh, nothing doing, GTFO." We're paraphrasing there.

The gist is that while Biden would certainly love to have Republican support and input, he's not going to waste time negotiating away the aid that Americans need to get through this crisis, no thank you, not even if that makes Susan Collins VERY CONCERNED. And that means a big fat NO to the $618 billion GOP proposal, which falls far short of what's necessary. Or as Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who's a bit more diplomatic than we are, put it, it was nice to have the "opportunity to exchange ideas," but Biden believes "the size of the package needs to be commensurate with the crises we're facing. That's why he proposed $1.9 trillion."

So let's take a quick look at just what a piss-poor "alternative" these alleged moderates think would be a good opening for negotiations (with the reminder that their proposal is going nodamnwhere):

Coronavirus Vaccines, Testing, And Tracing

Let's get the one good thing in the GOP proposal out of the way: It matches the $160 billion dollar amount of the Biden plan's total for getting vaccines to people, as well as funding testing and tracing. As far as we can tell, while the GOP plan would fund increased vaccinations, it doesn't appear to include Biden's plan to hire and train 100,000 new public health workers.

Individual Payments

Biden wants Americans earning under $75,000 to get $1,400 checks each; that would include dependents over the age of 17 who were left out of the CARES Act last year. For those making over $75K individual ($150K jointly), payments phase out, with no payments to individuals making $87K or more.

The GOP plan is far stingier, offering individual payments of $1,000 to adults and $500 for children and dependent adults, with benefits phasing out for adults who made $40,000, with nothing for anyone making over $50K.

Unemployment Insurance

MONEY FOR MERICA PLEASE would boost the current emergency supplemental unemployment payments, which are funded only through March 14, from $300 to $400, and would extend eligibility for those payments through September. It would also extend two other emergency unemployment benefits (one for workers who've exhausted state unemployment, the other for part-time, self-employed, and gig workers) through September as well.

The GOP proposal would keep the supplemental unemployment at just $300, and cut it and the other two programs off in June, because what if people don't rush back to low-wage jobs after whooping it up all spring?

Safe School Reopening

Biden's plan would provide $130 billion for K-12 schools to reopen safely, $35 billion for higher education, plus a $5 billion fund to governors to help schools and programs that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

The GOP plan proposes $20 billion for K-12 schools, and that's it, because did you know teachers are in unions? Republicans also contend there's plenty of money for schools left from the previous stimulus plans.

What's not in the GOP Plan

SO DAMN MUCH: Not a penny in aid for state, local, and tribal governments. No increase in the child tax credit. No $15 minimum wage, of course. The Republicans would extend the eviction moratorium for renters, but would not provide a cent of rental assistance. No help with health insurance premiums, and no extended family or medical leave.

As we say, it's a non-starter, and House and Senate Dems are getting started on the process to pass the Biden plan via the "budget reconciliation" process, which means it would pass with a simple majority. And yes, that might even include the minimum wage boost, since a higher minimum wage could save the federal government $65 billion a year in other benefits — and $650 billion in savings over 10 years is the kind of "budgetary impact" that could make the minimum wage hike qualify for inclusion under the weird rules governing reconciliation, subject to a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian.

In conclusion, thanks for coming by, moderate Rs, what this guy said:

[Politico / NBC News / CNN / Reuters / Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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