Alaska’s Murkowski among senators pushing stripped-down relief package

Capitol Steps
The U.S. Capitol building. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and other moderate Republicans will present a new pandemic relief proposal to President Joe Biden at the White House Monday afternoon.

The $618 million plan is about one-third the size of the bill Biden wants.

It is possible for Democrats to pass the larger bill without Republicans, but for a bill to pass with bipartisan support, Murkowski said it can’t be packed with other goals like a $15 minimum wage and cyber security measures.

“I’m trying to be constructive and saying look, if you want to try to get more help for vaccines, more help for testing, ways to get the schools back open, help our struggling businesses — we want to help you, but don’t just stuff this. That’s not responsible,” she said last week.

The proposal of the 10 Republican senators includes direct payments of up to $1,000 but with lower income limits than earlier COVID aid bills. Individuals earning $40,000 or less would get the full amount. No checks would be sent to single people earning more than $50,000 a year. The cut-off for families would be $100,000.

The GOP group includes moderate senators — Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah — and others that don’t usually stray from Republican leadership, like Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

Late last year, Murkowski was part of a “gang of moderates” from both parties that spurred a stalled COVID relief package through Congress.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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