Rep. Peter Meijer is not a big fan of President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. The bill, which includes funds for extended unemployment, schools, and vaccinations, is likely to pass with no GOP support.
But Meijer, a Republican from Michigan, made one last effort this week to offer a counter to the Democrats’ plan.
Meijer is calling for $2,400 checks direct payments -- $1,000 more per person than what Democrats are proposing -- for a smaller group of Americans. Under Meijer’s plan, the $2,400 checks would go to individuals making less than $50,000 a year. Under the Democrats’ plan, stimulus checks would be sent to Americans making less than $75,000 a year.
Meijer’s plan is unlikely to be considered by the Democrats, who control the majorities in the House and Senate.
“Instead of focusing on a bipartisan bill, as has been done four times prior with COVID relief, or hewing to the spirit of unity that President Biden aspired to in his inaugural address, Speaker Pelosi has instead presented us with this institutional abomination,” he said. “We could have prioritized vaccine delivery, COVID testing, PPE distribution, getting kids back to school, and supporting small businesses- but no. Instead, Speaker Pelosi and Democratic leadership worked behind closed doors to craft this grab bag of unrelated gifts to entrenched interests.”
Meijer said in an interview with CNN on Thursday that his proposal was in response to Biden’s meeting with a group of moderate Republican senators last month who pitched the president on a smaller, $600 billion plan.
“The proposal of direct dollars over government access is part of the plan that Susan Collins put forward with a group of bipartisan members of the Senate and saying listen, 'The COVID relief plan and the rescue plan that was put forward through the budget reconciliation process flew in the face of the bipartisan negotiations that have taken place before,'” Meijer said. “At the end of the day, there is spending that could be accounted for or that the American people can target direct needs and the fact that I can put together a proposal that's been scored and that is $1 trillion less.”
Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan is currently being debated in the US Senate. It is expected to get a final vote in the chamber on Friday or Saturday. The bill will be moved back to the House. The House approved a version of the bill last week that included a minimum wage increase. The Senate’s version took out the provision due to the Senate parliamentarian ruling that budget reconciliation cannot be used to increase the minimum wage.
The proposal increases the child tax credit to $3,000 per year ($3,600 for children under age 6). And it extends enhanced unemployment benefits through September.
The bill also replenishes funds for small business grants.
Democrats are touting the bill as a way to safely help students return to the classroom. There is $140 billion earmarked in the bill for schools in all, some of which will go toward personal protective equipment and pandemic-related expenses. Some of the funds, however, are set to be used to help schools avoid layoffs from decreased tax revenue.