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Politics

Susan Collins, Angus King Say $2 Trillion Pandemic Bill Needs Significant Changes To Pass Senate

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J. Scott Applewhite
/
Associated Press
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, leaves the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

Maine’s two U.S. senators say President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief package will not make it through the Senate without some potentially significant changes.

The House starts hearings on the Biden stimulus proposal on Monday, but Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says it’s likely to change quite a bit as it moves through the Congress.

“$2 trillion package to me seems to be a bit premature. I am open to additional assistance,” she says.

Collins says the size and scope of that assistance should be determined only after assessing the effectiveness of the $900 billion package enacted in late December.

“Congress needs to have our ability to influence it, and most of all we need to look at what the impact has been on the COVID relief bill we just passed,” she says.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King says he is confident that there will need to be another relief package, but says Congress will first need to carefully consider its timing, scope, and cost.

“The old saying is the president proposes and the Congress disposes, so there will be negotiations. But I am hopeful we will be able get 60 votes. I think people on both sides of the aisle realize the job isn’t done,” he says.