A major reason for no coronavirus relief package so far is the differences between Republicans and Democrats over the cost of the bill. Democrats want a package costing $2.2 trillion, but the highest proposal so far from the other side is of $1.3 trillion. Now, to break the stalemate, a bipartisan group of 50 lawmakers plan to come up with a coronavirus relief package costing over $1.5T.
Will this Caucus plan gain approval?
A 50-member group of House Democrats and Republicans, which calls itself the House Problem Solvers Caucus, will introduce a $1.52 trillion coronavirus relief package in an attempt to break the month-long deadlock, notes a report from Bloomberg.
The report notes that the group will reveal the plan, called the Problem Solvers Caucus plan, at a news conference on Tuesday. This plan has been in the works for weeks with the knowledge of the White House, as well as the leadership of both sides, Bloomberg notes.
There are good chances that this $1.52 trillion coronavirus relief package would gain approval from both sides. This is because the caucus group includes equal numbers of members from each side, making it more likely for other members to back it.
Also, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently hinted that the White House might approve a coronavirus relief package of about $1.5T. Mnuchin also urged the lawmakers to come up with a relief package without worrying about the rising fiscal deficit.
This proposal from the House Problem Solvers Caucus group aims to bridge the gap between the two sides by offering a compromise on the sticking points. One point of difference is the aid to state and local governments. Democrats are seeking $915 billion for the aid, while the White House has put forward $150 billion. The new plan, however, is offering a compromise at $500 billion.
Another difference between the two sides is over supplemental unemployment insurance. Democrats want $600 per week, while the White House is offering $300 per week. The Problem Solvers Caucus plan is offering $450 per week for eight weeks, and thereafter, 100% of the previous wages or $600 per week, whichever is less.
Moreover, this $1.5T coronavirus relief package includes stimulus checks of $1,200 and dependent payment of $500 per child. The bill includes $25 billion for mortgage and rental assistance, $15 billion for the Postal Service, and $130 billion for schools.
It also includes funds for childcare, small business relief, as well as Covid-19 testing. Additionally, it allots separate funds for the 2020 elections and food assistance programs.
One interesting point about this plan is that it links the funds to the economic metrics. This means if the pandemic becomes less severe or rebounds, the package will also be reduced or extended.