Rep. Cunningham, Problem Solvers Caucus working towards bipartisan COVID-19 legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Representative Joe Cunningham and the Problem Solvers Caucus on Tuesday introduced bipartisan, bicameral framework to streamline negotiations regarding a COVID-19 relief package.

The March to Common Ground’ framework is designed to “help break the gridlock on the latest COVID-19 relief package and encourage negotiators to get back to the table.”

The framework proposes a six-month timeline, “except for state and local funding, which extends for a full year.”

A system of ‘boosters’ and ‘reducers’ are built into the package to correspond with the course of the pandemic:

“Depending on the severity of the pandemic and if a successful vaccination program is adopted by March, 2021, a system of automatic “boosters” are designed to incrementally increase the amount of relief to individuals and families. Conversely, a system of “reducers” will decrease the total cost of the package.”

Cunningham reasoned that “with thousands of South Carolinians still out of work, small businesses struggling to keep the lights on, and state and local governments fiscally exhausted, it is long past time Congress stops the partisan political posturing and comes together to negotiate another COVID-19 relief package.”

He continued, explaining that the”bipartisan framework would allocate the necessary funding for testing, relief for working families, unemployed Americans, and small businesses, and much-needed aid for state and local governments.”

Specifically, “the framework calls for both new stimulus money and the reallocation of previously appropriated “CARES Act” funding, and allocates resources to the following key categories:”

  • Testing & Healthcare ($100B)
    • $25B for testing and contact tracing
    • $30B for healthcare provider support, telehealth expansion
    • $45B for Medicare loan forgiveness
  • Direct Assistance to Individuals & Families ($316B)
    • $280B for $1,200 direct stimulus checks + $5000 per child
    • $25B for rental assistance/stabilization/eviction moratoriums through January 2021
    • $1B for 15% WIC plus-up through March 2021
    • $10B for 15% SNAP plus-up through July 2021
    • Student loan forbearance through December 31, 2020
  • Unemployment Assistance ($120B)
    • $450/week for 8-week transition period
    • Up to $600/week and up to 100% of previous wage
  • Small Business & Non-profit Support ($290B)
    • $240B for PPP
      • $145B reappointed from remaining PPP
      • $95B additional
  • School & Child Care ($145B)
    • $15B for childcare providers
    • $100B for K-12 schools to be used for virtual, hybrid, and/or in-person learning
    • $30B for higher education institutions
  • State & Local Aid ($500.3B)
    • $130B from previous CARES Act for flexible use on documented past state and local COVID expenses
    • $130B additional for documented future state and local COVID expenses through 2021
    • $120.3B additional for local general revenue shortfalls through 2021
    • $250B additional for state general revenue shortfalls through 2021
    • Tribal and territorial governments allocation
  • Election Support ($400B)
  • Broadband, Agriculture, USPS, & Census ($52B)
    • $12B for broadband hotspots in underserved areas
    • $25B for agriculture/aquaculture
    • $15B for USPS
  • Worker & Liability Protections 
  • Automatic Boosters & Reducers

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan Caucus made up of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans. Over 75% of the Caucus approved of the framework.