WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) joined a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of lawmakers to announce the framework for a targeted, emergency COVID aid package to help struggling Americans. The members of the coalition crafted policy they believe can break the stalemate in Congress and pass both chambers.
“This is a bipartisan, bicameral effort that creates a pathway forward to bring relief to those who need it most. Republicans and Democrats in both chambers got much of what we wanted, and neither got everything we wanted. That combination reflects what Congress is supposed to do: reconcile priorities and deliver for the American people,” said Dr. Cassidy, who also noted that both the American people and President Trump have called on Congress to act before the year is over.
Senators joining Cassidy in supporting the proposal are U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) are leading efforts in the House of Representatives and indicated this proposal is supported by the Problem Solvers Caucus, a 50-member caucus split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.
The package tallies $908 billion to fund emergency relief efforts from Dec. 1 through March 31, 2021. Of that total, more than $500 billion is repurposed from previously allocated funding from the CARES Act. This package spends in the following ways:
• $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments
• $180 billion for additional unemployment insurance ($300 per week)
• $288 billion for small business support through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and specific provisions for restaurants and music venues.
• $12 billion in community lender support
• $45 billion for transportation (airlines, airports, buses, transit and Amtrak)
• $16 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing and contact tracing
• $35 billion for the Health Care Provider Relief Fund
• $82 billion for education
• $4 billion for student loans
• $25 billion for housing/rental assistance
• $26 billion for nutrition and agriculture, including support for fisheries
• $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service
• $10 billion for child care
• $10 billion for rural broadband Internet
• $5 billion for opioid treatment.
Bill text is not yet available.