Phillips-Led Bipartisan Working Group Offers COVID Relief Framework To Break Impasse
WASHINGTON - Today, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus – 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans – unveiled its “March To Common Ground” framework to help break the gridlock on the latest COVID-19 relief package and encourage negotiators to get back to the table.
The 50-member bipartisan Caucus, led by policy working group leaders Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) along with Problem Solvers Caucus members Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Co-Chairs Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), came together to develop the framework after extensive listening to constituents and outreach to stakeholders over the past six weeks.
The package addresses key areas of need, including COVID-19 testing, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus, worker and liability protection, small business and non-profit support, food security, schools and child care, housing, election support, and state and local aid.
In light of the urgent needs facing millions of Americans, families, and small businesses, the framework is designed for a six month horizon and through the next inauguration, except for state and local funding which extends for a full year.
Depending on the severity of the pandemic and if a successful vaccination program is adopted by March, 2021, a system of automatic “boosters” are designed to incrementally increase the amount of relief to individuals and families. Conversely, a system of “reducers” will decrease the total cost of the package.
“Today, my 25 Democrat and 25 Republican colleagues of the Problem Solvers Caucus introduced a bipartisan, COVID relief framework to reignite negotiations and support Americans through these difficult days,” said Rep. Dean Phillips. “Months of inaction have left too many at the precipice, and principle must overcome politics. Leaders of both parties have demonstrated a willingness to walk away with nothing, but people, families and small businesses are suffering and cannot afford Federal inaction. While this is not a perfect plan, it is a bipartisan framework that provides immediate support for the most pressing issues facing our country during the COVID crisis. Our intent is to inspire House and Senate leadership to return to the negotiating table and provide urgently needed relief. I am encouraged by Speaker Pelosi’s commitment to keep the House in session until agreement is reached. In the meantime, I will continue to relentlessly advocate for the priorities of our district and country as leaders from both parties and the White House consider the proposal and negotiate a final deal.”
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
- Automatic Boosters & Reducers
- The full framework can found here.
“Americans deserve a functioning Congress that can rise to the challenge and deliver the relief they need,” said PSC Co-Chair Tom Reed. “Our framework reflects months of bipartisan consensus-building on the actions the federal government can take to help working families and local communities across the country as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19. We are hopeful this package will help bring lead negotiations back to the table as we try to solve this problem for the American people.”
“What brings us together — 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans — is our shared goal of finding a pragmatic solution — a bipartisan path forward — to help get negotiators to return to the table,” said PSC Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer. “Our March to Common Ground package does just that — it lays out a common sense framework to get help and resources out to American families and businesses.