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Angus King Doubts The Pandemic Relief Package Will Be Bipartisan

Brandon Bell
New York Times via AP/Pool
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, arrives for the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 in Washington.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says it’s looking increasingly unlikely a major compromise on pandemic relief will happen.

King says Republicans in the Senate have not moved from the $600 billion package they proposed last month. He says that is too small for Democrats, for President Joe Biden and for him.

“The problem, to be honest, is that the Republicans are so far from what the president proposed it’s hard to figure out how that gap can be sufficiently narrowed,” he says.

King says there may be the opportunity for some Republican input to the package through amendments as the measure works its way through Congress.

“There are two possible paths. One is some kind of negotiation to produce a bipartisan package overall. The other is bipartisan amendments to the reconciliation bill when it comes to the floor,” he says.

King says many senators are working on the bill through this week’s recess because it needs to be passed this month to prevent federal extended unemployment benefits from ending in March.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.