Coronavirus stimulus: Bipartisan caucus unveils $1.5 trillion proposal, including checks and extra unemployment benefits, in attempt to break gridlock
A non-partisan group of members of the House of Representatives unveils a stimulus proposal aimed at breaking a month-long stalemate in negotiations and distributing $ 1.5 billion to the economy before the elections.
The group's middle ground proposal, known as the 'Problem Solvers Caucus', includes provisions such as a second round of economic reviews, an expansion of supplementary unemployment benefits, help for small businesses and schools, electoral assistance, etc.
The plan will allocate $ 120 billion in unemployment benefits, with workers receiving an additional $ 450 per week for eight weeks starting in mid-October. Up to $ 600 per week would follow through January 2021 so as not to exceed 100% of a person's previous wage.
A second round of stimulus checks - a proposal that is popular with both parties - is also included in the bipartisan plan. As part of the proposal, a second wave of payments of up to $ 1,200 will go to individuals, plus $ 500 for all dependents.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, DN.J., listens as Rep. Tom Reed, RN.Y., speaks during the Problem Solvers Caucus press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (Photo by Bill Clark / CQ- Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
However, the middle way proposal may not be enough to push the two parties back to negotiations, said an expert.
"The problem underlying the stalemate isn't the lack of centrist proposals," Sarah Binder, professor of political science at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, told Yahoo Money. "The dilemma is that both parties will have to feel the heat of the election if they refuse to return to the negotiating table."
"Urges the democratic leadership of the house to bring another package"
A big wedge between the parties is how much a second stimulus plan should cost.
The Democratic Plan passed in May - the HEROES Bill - was originally valued at over $ 3 trillion but was later cut down to $ 2.2 trillion. In contrast, the latest Republican plan, which was rejected in the Senate last week, was worth around $ 300 billion. This leaves a huge gap between the two party's proposals, and the new $ 1.5 trillion bipartisan plan may still be too high for Republicans.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leaves the Senate Chamber after a vote in the U.S. Capitol on September 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate has failed to pass a procedural vote on a Republican-proposed coronavirus aid package. (Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images)
"Senate Republicans in particular seem to have little interest in a proposal larger than their small bill," said Binder. "I'm a little skeptical that the problem solvers' proposal can generate enough heat to convince both parties to leave their most recent positions so close to the election."
The proposal by the bipartisan group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans also includes $ 290 billion for small business aid, $ 145 billion for schools and childcare, $ 500 billion for state and local aid, and $ 400 million for electoral aid as well the potential for $ 400 billion more for some provisions, depending on hospitalization rates and vaccination progress.
Read More: Here's What You Need To Know About Eligibility for Unemployment Benefit
While there may not be a great chance of surviving as it is, the plan could push the Democratic Party to come back with a revised package, Binder said.
"It is certainly possible that the problem-solvers' proposal is pushing the House Democratic leadership to get another package of COVID relief on the ground before taking a break in October," she said. "That would allow the moderates to campaign for a new package and blame the Republicans and the White House for their continued inaction."
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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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