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September 21, 2020

Problem Solvers Caucus Tries To Bridge Gap On Next U.S. COVID Relief Bill

In an effort to get Congressional leaders talking again, the House Problem Solvers Caucus – a bipartisan group of 25 moderate Democrats and 25 moderate Republicans – released the contours of what they are framing as a consensus next COVID-19 federal relief bill.

The total price tag of this package is just about $2 trillion – a cost that is slightly higher than the price tag Republicans support and slight lower than the amount of spending Democrats are seeking.

The package includes:

  • A total of $240 billion for a second round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for businesses with less than 300 employees and who attest revenue decreases of at least 35 percent year-over-year;
  • A simplified PPP loan forgiveness process for loans less than $150,000;
  • An eight-week $450/week enhanced unemployment insurance transition period, followed by up to $600/week through January 2021, but not to exceed 100 percent of previous wage;
  • $1,200 direct stimulus checks for qualifying adults, plus $500 per dependent child;
  • $500 billion in direct, flexible funding for state and local governments;
  • $15 billion for the U.S. Postal Service; and
  • Liability protections for businesses that follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines when reopening combined with new enforcement measures.

Members of Congress continue to debate the contents of a final bill, which now likely will not see voting action until October, or possibly even after the November election.