September 15, 2020 –
New effort in the stimulus negotiations from the Problem Solvers Caucus
On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers put forward their own plan to deliver badly needed coronavirus relief amid a bitter stalemate between their party leaders.
Founded in 2017, the Problem Solvers Caucus is an independent member-driven group in Congress, comprised of representatives from across the country – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – committed to finding common ground on many of the key issues facing the nation. The Caucus’ aim is to create a durable bloc that champions ideas that appeal to a broad spectrum of the American people.
The Problem Solvers Caucus’ $1.52 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan, has been developed for weeks with the knowledge of the White House and leadership from both parties. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has referred to the discussions and at a House hearing this month hinted the White House could accept a $1.5 trillion spending level.
The “March to Common Ground” framework, developed by caucus co-chairs Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) offers key compromises on the two thorniest issues in the stalled talks between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration.
On aid to state and local governments, the group is backing about $500 billion, splitting the difference between the $915 billion sought by Democratic leaders, and the $150 billion put forward by the White House. In addition, the proposal would provide another round of $1,200 direct stimulus payments for most Americans with a $500 per child benefit. It also contains money for Covid-19 testing, schools, childcare, and small business relief. It would also link relief to economic metrics, reducing aid if the pandemic abates or extending it if it worsens.
The framework calls for both new stimulus money and the reallocation of previously appropriated “CARES Act” funding, and allocates resources to the following key categories:
- Testing & Healthcare ($100B)
- Direct Assistance to Individuals & Families ($316B)
- Unemployment Assistance ($120B)
- Small Business & Non-profit Support ($290B
- School & Child Care ($145B)
- State & Local Aid ($500.3B)
- Election Support ($400B)
- Broadband, Agriculture, USPS, & Census ($52B)
- Worker & Liability Protections
Speaker Pelosi intends to keep the House in session in order to pass a stimulus bill
On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that the House will remain in session until the parties have an agreement on another round of emergency coronavirus relief.
In a conference call with the House Democratic Caucus — the first since the chamber returned from a long summer recess — Pelosi indicated she isn’t willing to accept a “skinny” legislative package but said that the chamber’s calendar will be extended until an agreement is sealed.
The development reflects both the severity of the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the growing pressure Pelosi is facing from the moderate wing of her party, which is clamoring for leadership to vote on another aid package before Congress leaves town again for the elections.