Sep 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus unveils $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Problem Solvers Caucus

Rep. Josh Gottheimer joined by other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, unveils the March to Common Ground proposal, Sept. 15. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of 50 House members known as the Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Tuesday amid frustration with congressional and White House leaders for failing to deliver desperately needed aid to Americans.

Why it matters: The legislation, which is widely viewed as unpassable, is a last-ditch effort by centrist lawmakers to force party leaders back to the negotiating table before the November election.

By the numbers: The proposal, titled “March to Common Ground" and led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), includes ...

  • $100 billion for COVID-19 testing and health care.
  • $316 billion in direct payments to individuals and families.
  • $120 billion in enhanced unemployment benefits.
  • $290 billion for small businesses.
  • $145 billion for schools and child care.
  • $500 billion in state and local aid.
  • $400 million for election security.
  • $52 billion to support broadband expansion, the agriculture industry, the U.S. Postal Service and the census.
  • Additional language on liability protections.

The bottom line: Few on Capitol Hill, including some in the Problem Solvers Caucus who have championed the bill, think Congress will be able to reach a stimulus deal before Election Day.

  • Before the bill was even released, it received sharp criticism from many Republican senators who have insisted that another round of coronavirus stimulus include a smaller price tag. The most recent Senate GOP "skinny" bill was roughly $650 billion.
  • Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers argue the bill doesn't go far enough.

But the measure offers many moderate members who are infuriated with the impasse an opportunity to show their constituents that they are trying to deliver coronavirus aid, and it puts added pressure on leaders to do something to help lessen the burden of the pandemic on American families.

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