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A bipartisan group of 50 House lawmakers unveiled a $1.5 trillion stimulus plan on Tuesday aimed at breaking through the impasse between top Democrats and the White House and setting the stage for a last-minute compromise before the November elections.
The amount is designed to be a middle ground between what Democrats and Republicans have called for so far. Members of the group, known as the Problem Solvers Caucus, are led by Democratic Rep. Joshua Gottheimer of New Jersey and Republican Rep. Tom Reed of New York.
The plan includes elements that draw support from both parties. Among the measures is another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for individuals and replenishment of the Payroll Protection Program to assist small businesses.
It also includes measures that drew more heated partisan debate. It would revive federal unemployment benefits at $450-a-week for eight weeks, then replace up to $600 of a worker’s past wages for five weeks. And it incorporates beefed-up protections for workers and employers.
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There’s also $500 billion in funds for cash-strapped state and local governments, as well as aid money for the embattled Postal Service, coronavirus testing, and rental assistance.
The proposal faces long odds of becoming law, and some Republicans say that a deal does not appear likely before Americans cast their ballots in November.
Talks between the White House and congressional Democrats collapsed in August amid fierce disagreements on federal spending levels and competing priorities. Much of the dispute was centered on state aid and unemployment benefits. They haven’t formally restarted since.
In late July, Republicans unveiled a $1 trillion stimulus plan, but Democrats attacked it as a paltry sum.
House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion economic relief package in May, but lowered their demand for new spending to $2.2 trillion. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the White House’s negotiators, still said that was too much.
Meanwhile, critical parts of the last economic stimulus that Congress approved in March have expired. Nearly 30 million Americans remain on unemployment benefits, and a program the Trump administration put in place with executive action early last month is already depleted of funding.
There are also signs poverty may be starting to rise again, according to researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago.
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Source:: Business Insider