WASHINGTON, D.C. (KSNW) – Political experts in Kansas say the disagreement over the amount of COVID-19 relief from the federal government could be a defining moment for President Joe Biden and a split U.S. Senate.
“We know that the Congress has to pass additional support for COVID-19,” said KSN Political Analyst Jeff Jarman. “The real struggle is the magnitude and scope of that.”
Jarman says U.S. Senator Jerry Moran is one of 10 so-called moderate senators from the GOP talking to President Joe Biden on Monday.
The group is making a push to back President Biden away from a plan that calls for $1.9 trillion on COVID-19 relief and pandemic assistance. That group is asking for roughly a third of that amount, $610 billion for the next relief package.
Senator Moran told FOX News Network before going into the meeting that he was looking forward to finding some common ground and believed it could be done.
“If we can’t find common ground on COVID-19 response, it really sets the stage for the inability to find common ground on many other things,” said Senator Moran. “COVID-19 has brought Congress and Presidents together on four phases of relief. It’s been done in a bipartisan way. There is a sense of interest on the part of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to get something done in this regard.”
In a statement put out to all media on Monday, Senator Moran warned the President Biden plan may not gain support with all the moderate GOP Senate coalition.
“Last year, Congress spent $4 trillion on bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages to support Americans as our country faces the challenges of this pandemic,” said Sen. Moran. “While more can be done to accelerate vaccine distribution and protect small businesses, the Democrats’ $2 trillion plan filled with unrelated, partisan wish list items is not the right path forward.”
The statement went on to say Moran is pleased to be joining colleagues in putting forward a framework built on bipartisan ideas. It also says President Biden pledged a spirit of unity.
“This is not just a political game. This is an important moment in defining how the Senate will work split 50-50 and how Biden will work with a divided Senate,” said Jarman. “He (President Biden) has to decide whether the $1.9 trillion package is worth pushing all-in on or whether to compromise or give up some of those initiatives.”
Jarman says this may be a bit of a unity test for both side to see if there is compromise.
“Something will have to get passed soon,” said Jarman.