President Joe Biden’s stimulus plan is facing criticism that it’d give too much to the wealthy.
A bipartisan group of 16 senators spoke with the Biden administration during a call Sunday.
The group also expressed support for increasing funding for vaccine distribution.
Some senators are pushing back on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package over concerns that it provides too much money to wealthy Americans, according to a report from Politico.
The bipartisan group of senators, led by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, expressed their concerns in a phone call with the Biden administration on Sunday, Politico reported.
The group of 16 senators reportedly told White House officials that they were in favor of increasing funds for vaccine distribution but felt the proposed $1,400 direct payments should be reserved for low-income Americans.
Collins specifically questioned why families making $300,000 could be eligible for payments, Politico reported.
While six-figure earners could qualify for the stimulus checks, the amount of the payments decreases as income increases, meaning they would not receive the full $1,400 amount.
The senator previously told Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig on Thursday that she was “sympathetic” to funding certain measures in the bill, like vaccine distribution, but was concerned over the total cost.
“It’s hard for me to see when we just passed $900 billion of assistance why we would have a package that big,” she said. “Maybe a couple of months from now, the needs will be evident and we will need to do something significant, but I’m not seeing it right now.”
Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine who was also on the call, also expressed concern about the overall cost, saying, “This isn’t Monopoly money,” according to Politico.
In addition to the $1,400 payments and funds for vaccine distribution, Biden’s plan includes enhanced unemployment insurance and aid to state and local governments.
The relief bill passed in December included $600 direct payments; federal unemployment aid; food and rental assistance; and education funding.
The call with the group of senators, which was evenly divided with eight Republicans and eight Democrats, was part of the Biden administration’s efforts to gain bipartisan support for the proposed spending package.
The largely moderate group could have a significant influence on Biden’s legislative agenda as the president tries to navigate a narrow majority in the Senate.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was on the call Sunday, said the participants agreed “that the more targeted the aid is the more effective it can be,” the Associated Press reported.
But the White House appeared uninterested in breaking up the plan and unconcerned about the total cost, according to the AP.
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