The House just introduced a new relief plan. Will Senate Republicans go for it?


A group of bipartisan House members released a deal framework that would expand unemployment aid, boost rental assistance, and provide state and local aid.

Congress is at a stalemate on a new round of coronavirus relief for Americans — with Democrats wanting more generous aid and Republicans pushing a more austere package. But a bipartisan group of House members came together to work on a deal they hope could pass both chambers, with they unveiled Tuesday.

The proposal from the Problem Solvers Caucus, first reported on by Politico, funds most things House Democrats want, but at a lower price tag than the $3 trillion bill they passed on May 15. The group's package amounts to $1.5 trillion in spending.

The deal includes $120 billion for added unemployment insurance, which would give laid-off workers $450 in added benefits for eight weeks, followed by 13 weeks of $600 payments that would be available through January 2021.

That's a middle ground between the bill House Democrats passed, which included a $600 per week unemployment aid extension through the end of the year, and the Senate Republican-passed bill, which included just a $300 weekly boost through 2020.

Senate Republicans have been railing against enhanced benefits for low-income and unemployed workers, letting those $600 weekly payments expire in July, citing false claims that added unemployment assistance disincentivized workers from finding new jobs.

The Problem Solvers' deal framework also added another round of direct $1,200 stimulus payments, as well as $500 payments per child and dependent adults. The bill House Democrats passed in May included $1,200 payments per family member, capped at $6,000 per household, while the Senate Republican bill did not include any direct payments at all.

And the proposal also includes $500 billion in aid to struggling state and local governments, which face budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus economic downturn that lowered revenues. House Democrats included $1 billion in aid for state and local governments in their May bill, while Senate Republicans did not include any aid for state and local governments.

It's unclear whether the latest deal will go anywhere in Congress. Politico reported that the deal is unlikely to pass, as Democrats want more generous aid, while Senate Republicans and the White House do not.

But Americans are clamoring for more help, with millions still out of work and the number of permanent layoffs growing.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.