President Biden and Senate Democrats talked about “targeting” the Covid relief package today but not reducing the overall price tag of the $1.9 trillion plan, according to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester who attended the virtual meeting Monday on the legislation's next steps.
Tester said that Biden was mainly in listening mode as Democrats proposed certain changes that could be made through the amendment process.
Tester ultimately predicted there would be “modest” changes made.
One of the items moderate Democrats are looking at to “target” in the coronavirus relief bill is limiting federal unemployment benefits from $400 a week to $300 in an effort to save money and extend the program longer.
The House bill’s federal unemployment program runs through August, but Democratic moderates are arguing the benefit could go longer if the weekly benefit was less. The goal would be to run it to the end of the year, according to one aide familiar with the discussions.
That could face pushback from the rest of the caucus. It’s still unknown on whether it’s really an option, but it’s a sign of moderates trying to reshape pieces of this bill.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who chairs the Finance Committee, also told CNN that he’s pushing to include in the bill an extension of jobless benefits for an additional month so they can expire in September rather than in August when senators and House members are on their summer recess.
And as CNN's Ryan Nobles reported earlier, more money for broadband is also something Democrats are pushing for.