Senate centrists weigh brokering deals on immigration, minimum wage

Romney was among the 10 Republicans who met with President Joe Biden about coronavirus legislation this winter. Ultimately Democrats shunned the GOP’s entreaties as lowball offers, deciding to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill with a party-line vote via budget reconciliation.

Another member of the bipartisan group who chafed at Democrats’ lack of interest in negotiating on a smaller Covid aid package, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), said Wednesday’s meeting is about the “road ahead.”

“We need to have a discussion about the exact role of this group,” Collins said.

The senatorial bloc also could wield its influence over a future infrastructure package that President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders have prioritized. But Democrats are actively searching for GOP partners to work on two more divisive issues, immigration and the minimum wage.

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday he would begin discussions with Republicans on legislation aimed at protecting the immigrant population known as Dreamers and farm workers. And Biden and some centrist Democrats have said they are open to negotiating with Republicans on the minimum wage.