By Nate Odenkirk | Staff Writer
A group of bipartisan-minded Republican senators proposed lowering the cost of the stimulus package from 1.9 trillion to one dollar and ninety cents. Proponents of the bill pointed out that it’s almost the same number as the 1.9 trillion put forth by Democrats. “My problem isn’t so much the ‘1.9’ as it is the ‘trillion,’” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). “This plan will keep the 1.9, and even one of the zeros. If the Senate goes with this, I’m sure they’d get at least two Republican votes… oh, Manchin isn’t a Republican? One, then.”
The plan would allocate 72 cents for direct checks to Americans making under 50,000 dollars a year. “The 72 cents figure is higher than I’d like it,” said Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). “But that’s what compromise is all about.” He clarified that he was far from a “yes” on the bill as it stood. “I’m probably a no, even if it’s $1.90.” When asked why he signed onto the bill, he stated that he wanted to appear as part of the solution. Popular provisions made their way into the bill, albeit in a slightly reduced scope. “Maintaining the Paycheck Protection Program enjoys strong bipartisan support,” the group of Republicans claimed. “So we propose to fully fund the program, GOP-style.” Seven cents are allocated for PPP.
“The 72 cents figure is higher than I’d like it,” said Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Whom will pay for the nearly two dollar increase in federal spending? Borrowing appears out of the question. “Ever since January 20th, we have been incredibly concerned about the debt,” said the Republican senators. “But, we recognize the devastating nature of the pandemic, and the need for relief funds to assist the poor.” To offset the $1.90 stimulus, the bill would cut three billion dollars from antipoverty programs. More conservative Senators voiced their opposition to the bill, arguing that the paltry sum allocated in the bill does not go far enough. “Three billion dollars in cuts is far too low,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), probably.
“1.90 as high as we’re willing to go,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who added that she was “very disappointed” in the high cost of the bill as it stands. Democratic leadership was quick to respond. “Oh, give me a break,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) retorted. “That woman is disappointed in everything. Every damn day, there’s a new thing she’s ‘disappointed’ in.” With a slim majority in the House and the Senate, Democrats are slated to steamroll the united GOP opposition and pass the 1.9 package—trillion included—as written.
Despite the long odds, hopes were high that the plan will pass with votes from both parties. After all, what’s more bipartisan than ten Republican senators? ♦