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Bipartisan group announces COVID-19 relief package in bid to end gridlock
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Bipartisan group announces COVID-19 relief package in bid to end gridlock

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The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus — 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans — unveiled Tuesday 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 Co-Chairs Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY) and includes Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, came together after the lawmakers listened to constituents and stakeholders over the past six weeks, according to a news release.

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.

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 and Health Care ($100B)

• Direct Assistance to Individuals and Families ($316B)

• Unemployment Assistance ($120B)

• Small Business and Non-profit Support ($290B)

• School and Child Care ($145B)

• State and Local Aid ($500.3B)

• Election Support ($400B)

• Broadband, Agriculture, USPS, and Census ($52B)

• Worker & Liability Protections

• Automatic Boosters & Reducers

“Our group put aside brinksmanship and political games,” Johnson said. “Once we focused on what was good for the country, it didn’t take us long to find common ground. This is how Congress is supposed to work.”

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