A Rep. Josh Gottheimer-led group is at the forefront of attempting to forge a coronavirus stimulus deal in Washington.
The Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), which Gottheimer co-chairs, and a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), announced a four-month bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief framework that will help American students, families, small businesses, workers, and healthcare providers during this crisis.
“This is a win for the American people, for common sense, and for problem solving,” said Gottheimer at a press briefing announcing the plan Dec. 1. “They want to get help and they are sick and tired, like we all are, of waiting to get COVID relief.”
$908 Billion in Aid
“With cases spiking, winter around the corner, and countless small businesses closing every day, and far too many families hurting, we simply cannot leave town and leave anyone out in the cold without getting something done immediately,” said Gottheimer.
The framework allocates $908 billion in total aid, including both new funding and the reallocation of previously appropriated CARES Act funding. The framework targets resources to the following key categories:
- State, Local, and Tribal Governments – $160 billion
- Additional Unemployment Insurance – $180 billion
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) including restaurants, stages, and deductibility – $288 billion
- CDFI/MDI Community Lender Support – $12 billion
- Transportation (Airlines, Airports, Buses, Transit and Amtrak) – $45 billion
- Vaccine Development and Distribution and Testing and Tracing – $16 billion
- Healthcare Provider Relief Fund – $35 billion
- Education Funding – $82 billion
- Student Loans – $4 billion
- Housing Assistance (Rental) – $25 billion
- Nutrition/Agriculture – $26 billion
- U.S. Postal Service – $10 billion
- Child Care – $10 billion
- Dedicated Broadband Funding – $10 billion
- Opioid Funding – $5 billion
Gottheimer noted the PSC has been looking to pass a stimulus package since the Summer and is needed even more now. “It will help families across our country…visiting food pantries for the very first time,” he said. “This is what our country needs desperately. Americans simply can not wait any longer.”
“This is an essential down payment on what our families, small businesses, and local communities need,” said the Congressman. “This four-month COVID-19 emergency relief package will get us through the hardest months of winter and into a new Administration.”
Sen. Manchin said the bipartisan, bicameral framework proves members of Congress can reach across the aisle and create meaningful compromise to help those who need it most.
“Millions of Americans have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are hurting, but Congress has been deadlocked for months with both sides unwilling to compromise to help our fellow Americans who are in desperate need,” stated Sen. Manchin. “Our $908 billion framework provides our front line healthcare providers, students, families, small businesses, and workers with the support they need and deserve during this devastating pandemic.”
Pelosi, McConnell Stalemate
“I urge my fellow colleagues to work with our bipartisan, bicameral group on this proposal so Congress can finally pass an emergency COVID-19 relief package to help Americans…during this difficult stretch of the pandemic.”
The measure is half the size of the $1.8 trillion in stimulus spending that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were discussing before theNov. 3 election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was unable to pass a smaller bill Republican bill in the Senate and has blamed Democrats for the stalemate due to it including measures not related to the pandemic.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) noted the proposal is a relief measure half House’s $1.8 million amount, with $560 billion in repurposed funds from the first CARES Act, so the amount of new money is actually $348 billion.
“Included in this measure is a liability provision that provides a temporary suspension of any liability-related lawsuits at the state or federal level associated with COVID-19, giving states enough time to put in place their own protections,” said Sen. Romney, a former Presidential candidate.
Along with Rep. Gottheimer and Sens. Manchin and Romney, those supporting the bill include PSC Co-Chair Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), along with Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Fred Upton (R-MI), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).