Politics

GOP senator says Covid relief ‘figure should not be foreordained’ after Biden meeting

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Key Points
  • Biden had a face-to-face meeting with 10 Republican senators Monday, including Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
  • “If we're driven by data, we'll come to the right figure,” said Cassidy. “That figure should not be foreordained.” 
  • GOP senators have introduced a $618 billion relief bill that is less than one-third of the price of Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package.
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People should be more optimistic about a Covid deal, says Sen. Bill Cassidy

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana suggested that the Covid relief figure should not be "foreordained" and should be based on data, moments after his meeting with President Joe Biden.  

"If we're driven by data, we'll come to the right figure," said Cassidy to CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" during a Monday evening interview. "That figure should not be foreordained." 

Biden had a face-to-face meeting with 10 Republican senators Monday, including Cassidy. GOP senators have introduced a $618 billion relief bill that is less than one-third of the price of Biden's $1.9 trillion rescue package. 

The direct payments are smaller, and those payments start to phase out at a lower $40,000 income threshold for individuals. There's also no funding for state and local governments, which has been a major sticking point for Democrats. 

Republicans have argued for a "targeted approach" when it comes to relief. Cassidy told host Shepard Smith that while he's "been a big advocate for state and local aid," he "needs to have data."

"Republicans offered something more focused, but another bit of common ground is that we're talking about data," Cassidy said. "What does the data show that we need? And the president's going to have his staff get back to us, and we'll compare our data points."

If 10 Republican senators join Democrats on a Covid relief package, then they would overcome the filibuster. 

Cassidy told host Shepard Smith that Americans should feel "more optimistic" about a bi-partisan deal after the meeting with Biden, but noted that, "there's nothing guaranteed in this process, it is how our Founding Fathers set it up."