Second Stimulus Bill? Bipartisan Group Offers $1.5 Trillion Compromise

Second Stimulus Bill? Bipartisan Group Offers $1.5 Trillion Compromise

2020-09-16 00:06:09
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The measure would infuse the economy with at least $1.5 trillion in new money, in addition to repurposing $130 billion from previous legislation and building in $400 billion in automatic triggers that would extend jobless aid and provide for another round of stimulus checks if the economy remains hobbled in January. Aiming for a middle ground between Republican and Democratic positions, the proposal includes measures that have bipartisan support, like reviving the popular Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and direct checks of $1,200 or more for American taxpayers.

But hours after its public release, top Democrats issued a takedown of the plan.

“When it comes to bolstering the public health system, supporting state and local governments and assisting struggling families, the Problem Solvers’ proposal leaves too many needs unmet,” they wrote. “With the general election just 49 days away and the Postal Service sabotaged by the Trump administration, their proposal also abandons our responsibility to protect the life of our democracy.”

Lawmakers had acknowledged that the plan was unlikely to become law. But in unveiling it, the group sought to signal to Ms. Pelosi and the lead White House negotiators — Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary — that there was ample common ground to be found in talks that have been dormant for weeks.

“I hope very much that leadership hears us in the Senate, the House and the White House,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan and a freshman who flipped a seat in a district Mr. Trump won in 2016 by seven points. “None of us want to go back to our constituents and say that we didn’t try, that we didn’t do everything we could.”

Senate Republicans, who have continued to denounce their Democratic counterparts for preventing a scaled-down Republican plan from advancing on Thursday, charged that Democrats had no interest in a legislative compromise until control of the House, Senate and the White House had been decided. Negotiators are now focused on agreeing to a stopgap spending measure to keep the government funded through the fall.

“I don’t see her being more willing to negotiate before we get to the election,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said of Ms. Pelosi on Tuesday. “So, I think I’m not too optimistic, but if lightning strikes, I’ll be here.”

The House passed a $3.4 trillion stimulus measure in May, but Republicans rejected it out of hand and have recently pushed for what they call a “skinny” bill that would provide just $350 billion in new spending. Ms. Pelosi has been adamant that Democrats will not accept anything less than $2.2 trillion, arguing that the toll of the pandemic warrants a significant new infusion from Congress. But multiple factions in the Democratic caucus have privately urged her and other leaders to remain in Washington and find a solution.


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