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Problem Solvers Caucus unveils ‘March To Common Ground’ COVID-19 stimulus framework

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus—25 Democrats and 25 Republicans—unveiled its “March To Common Ground” framework last week 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), developed and came together in support of 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.

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

“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.”