Congressman Scott Peters believes Americans need help now, which is why he joined the Problem Solvers Caucus to lay out a framework for immediate COVID-19 aid. This bipartisan, bicameral proposal provides a sound compromise for targeted relief. The bill has served as the basis for aid negotiations and includes crucial funding for unemployment insurance and the PPP, vaccine distribution, as well as for education and healthcare. The American people are counting on their Representatives; it’s time for them to do their jobs and put them first.
Read more about it in this December 13th piece by Politico, posted below:
Bipartisan group to offer 2-part coronavirus relief package
By Nolan D. McCaskill and Burgess Everett
December 13th, 2020
A bipartisan group of senators is expected to introduce a $908 billion coronavirus relief bill as soon as Monday, with a twist: The deal is expected to be split into two pieces, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.
One would be a $748 billion piece of coronavirus relief with less controversial items like schools and health care; the other would marry $160 billion in money for local governments with a temporary liability shield.
Those two components have been the toughest part of the negotiation so far, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested dropping them and concentrating on the less divisive areas. McConnell had long called a liability shield from coronavirus legislation his “red line,” while congressional Democrats say the money for states and cities is their top priority. Some Republicans from states with hard-hit budgets like Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also are pushing for local aid, but many conservatives don’t want to send money to states.
Splitting the bill could make it more likely that a relief package can be finalized before Congress leaves for the holidays — something deemed essential with 12 million Americans set to lose unemployment benefits in the coming weeks. No coronavirus relief legislation has been enacted since the spring even though the pandemic continues to exact a staggering toll in lives, hospitalizations and economic distress.
Earlier Sunday, Cassidy and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said the group of bipartisan negotiators will introduce its $908 billion bill Monday. Manchin framed the proposal as an emergency measure that would help the nation survive the first quarter of 2021, a three-month stretch he predicted would be the “toughest” first quarter the U.S. will have ever faced.
The West Virginia Democrat noted that the bipartisan group of lawmakers and their staffs have been meeting regularly for the past month, including a call Saturday and an upcoming call later Sunday to “finish things up.”
“The bottom line is there’s a lot of parts to this bill, and in the spirit of compromise, you have to work through all of that,” Manchin told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “But at the end, you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Cassidy called the soon-to-be-released legislation “the only bipartisan game in town,” echoing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s reference Thursday to these talks being “the only real game in town.”
“We’re the only one where people have come together from both parties and said, ‘Listen, I’m not with you on that, but if you give me this, I’ll give you that because we’ve gotta do something for the American people,’” Cassidy told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He acknowledged, however, that “what Leader McConnell decides to do, I don’t have control over,” and “others can decide to accept our work product or not.”
Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are also demanding a vote on a new round of direct checks to Americans, further complicating the week ahead.
Also Sunday, a House Democratic leader suggested that the party may be willing to support a coronavirus relief package without aid to state and local governments, potentially ceding a Democratic priority in pursuit of a bipartisan deal.
“In the legislative process, nobody ever gets everything they want,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN’s Abby Phillip on “Inside Politics.” “And, in fact, when you have a divided government and divided Congress, it’s critically important that we deal with these very, very important objectives even if we don’t get, on either side, everything we want.”
Hoyer conceded that while Democrats believe state and local aid is “critically important,” other policies are “critically important, too.”
“If we can get that, we want to get it, but we want to get aid out to the people who are really, really struggling and are at great risk,” Hoyer said. “Life is a series of trade-offs and gives and takes, but we need to make sure that we get the very important health, unemployment, small business, vaccine delivery dollars, school dollars, child care dollars, all of which are in the agreement that has forged — the bipartisan agreement forged by the senators, and by the Problem Solvers in our own House, and by members in both the House and the Senate.”
Manchin said that after the bill’s text is released, his congressional colleagues “can choose if you like it or not” and “vote for it or against it.” And he lamented the possibility of lawmakers taking “the easy way out” by dropping the most contentious issues — liability protections and state and local assistance — to avoid “a tough vote.”
“We’ve done what this place is supposed to do,” Manchin said, referring to the bipartisan negotiators. “We’ve worked together. We didn’t work apart and condemn each other and point fingers.”
But will their measure pass later this week, when Congress faces a government funding deadline?
“There’s no guarantee,” Manchin said, noting that Congress consists of 535 voting members. “I can’t guarantee they’re all going to vote for it and pass it, but I can tell you one thing: What’s the alternative? What are you going to do?”