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WTAS: Support for Upton and the Problem Solvers Caucus’ bipartisan framework for COVID-19 relief

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Washington, September 16, 2020 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and the Problem Solvers Caucus yesterday released their “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 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.

The full framework can found here

 

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton: “Too many folks are still really struggling. They need help, and our plan delivers for them. This framework is something both parties can get behind, would be signed by the President, and would deliver immediate help to those in the most need.”

The Washington Post Editorial Board: “The Problem Solvers Caucus, a 50-person group of moderate House members, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, has released the outline of a compromise that could give majorities in the House and Senate at least some of what they say they want… Economic conditions have improved significantly since the pandemic response forced a near-shutdown six months ago — indeed, more significantly than many expected. Yet the gains are precarious, with many families in hard-hit industries such as travel and food service facing long-term unemployment, eviction and food insecurity. Improvements to date are due largely to the strong bipartisan response Congress and the Trump administration mounted at the pandemic’s outset; further improvements depend on their ability to do something similar now. The Problem Solvers proposal could show the way.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows: “It’s a very thoughtful proposal. It certainly doesn’t align with a view of the priorities that the president has… But it’s certainly worth discussion and worth consideration and if that’s something that the speaker is willing to kind of quasi-embrace, I think it provides a real opening for further discussions.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds the Problem Solvers Caucus for their efforts to jump start the process of enacting a COVID relief package. While there are many details to work out, including the specific liability provisions, this is a serious proposal to achieve a much-needed bipartisan solution. In many respects, it represent the contours of a reasonable middle ground. We call on the administration and congressional leaders from both parties to now come together and finalize a bill that can be enacted by the end of the month."

PSC Co-Chair Tom Reed (R-NY):Americans deserve a functioning Congress that can rise to the challenge and deliver the relief they need. 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.”   

 

PSC Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ): “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. 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.

 

 

THE FRAMEWORK

 

  • $100 billion for Testing and Healthcare: (testing, tracing, Medicare loan forgiveness, healthcare provider support)
  • $316 billion in Direct Assistance to Individuals and Families: (WIC, SNAP, stimulus checks, rental assistance, eviction moratorium, student loan forbearance)
  • $120 billion in Enhanced Unemployment Assistance
    • $450 a week for 8 weeks
    • Followed by up to $600/week, and up to, but not to exceed 100% of previous wage
    • 13 weeks from mid-October, 2020 - through January, 2021
  • $290 billion in Small Business and Non-Profits: (PPP, ERTC, Main Street)
  • $145 billion for Schools and Child Care: (child care, K-12, higher ed)
  • $500.3 billion in new money for State & Local Aid: (including tribal and territorial)
  • $400 million in Election Support
  • $52 billion for Broadband, Agriculture, USPS, Census
  • $400 billion in Possible Automatic Boosters* (additional Unemployment Insurance, stimulus checks)
  • (-)$200 billion in Possible Automatic Reducers* (PPP, State & Local, Rental):
    • *Boosters and Reducers based on COVID hospitalization metrics and vaccine progress.
  • Liability Protections 
    • Problem
      • Covid-19 has created the need to ensure workers, customers and students

are protected from transmission, and businesses, schools, and institutions

are protected from frivolous lawsuits

    • Solution
      • Enhanced protections for entities which follow enhanced OSHA guidelines
      • Robust enforcement of worker safety

 

TOP-LINE NUMBERS

 

  • $1.523 trillion - Total new money
  • $130 billion - Previously appropriated CARES money
  • $400 billion - Possible 2021 automatic “boosters”
  • (-) $200 billion - Possible 2021 automatic “reducers”
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