WASHINGTON, D.C. — During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said that his "goal was not to reach a deal" when he and nine other Republican lawmakers met with Democratic President Joe Biden on Monday to discuss COVID-19 relief.
"Our goal was not to reach a deal," said Cassidy. "It was to speak with the president regarding the rationale for his plan, (and) the rationale for ours. Ours is targeted. We think it meets the needs. It is actually based upon data. Of course he thinks the same about his."
Cassidy said that he and the other Republicans came out of the meeting with is a commitment to share the information, and the rationale that each side was using.
"Because we all agree that we need to take care of Americans who are in need, we need to battle the pandemic," he said. "We need to get things back to normal. And there was a commitment to continue the discussion. And that was my goal to come out of the meeting."
Cassidy said that Biden suggested $160 billion for the whole vaccination project, which he and the other Republican lawmakers agreed upon. He said that they also agreed upon allocating the same amount of money to promote the vaccines.
Cassidy also spoke about a Republican alternative for a targeted package of $618 billion. This would include measures to directly address the pandemic, such as: vaccine distribution; testing; looking at the genomic sequencing, which has become important with these variants; and the disaster relief fund.
The measure would also include $7 billion for rural hospitals, which is important for Louisiana as many residents are dependent upon rural hospitals.
The package would also continue to provide unemployment checks through June 30 of $300 a week, with direct payments of $1000 that would begin to phase out around $40,000, which would be double for a family or couple along with extra for dependent adults and children.
Cassidy said the measure would put more money into the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses, and it would add more money to help K-12 schools reopen.
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