Yesterday, the latest COVID-19 economic aid package was proposed by a 50-member bipartisan group of House legislators. The Problem Solvers Caucus announced a $1.5 trillion package dubbed their “March To Common Ground” that split the difference between the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act passed by House Democrats in May, and the $1 trillion HEALS Act proposed by Senate Republicans in July.
The Problem Solvers Caucus, which is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, had over 75-percent of its members endorsed this package, allowing the group to move forward. The caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), both of whom spoke at the American Boating Congress this Spring.
With so many different proposals floating around at this point, it can be easy to get things mixed up. The table below outlines each of the three proposals being discussed.
What is particularly interesting about this bipartisan proposal is its inclusion of automatic triggers based on hospitalization rates and progress towards vaccine development, seemingly preventing future benefits to fall off due to partisan disagreements.
White House negotiators have signaled that they are open to a $1.5 trillion package, but House Democrats have openly said they would not negotiate on a package that is less than $2.2 trillion. House party leaders have not openly come out against the Problem Solvers Caucus’s March To Common Ground, but they have not openly stated they are open to working with the proposal. On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) traded blows blaming the other for refusing to come to the table, and this bipartisan deal is evidence that the other’s caucus was upset with a lack of progress.
It is unclear whether House and Senate leadership will move forward with this bipartisan proposal, or if it will meet the same end as the previous proposals.