Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Dean Phillips (D-MN-3), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7), and Fred Upton (R-MI-6) of the Problem Solvers Caucus announced a bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief framework that will help American students, families, businesses, workers, and health care providers during this crisis.
“This bipartisan, bicameral group worked night and day throughout the Thanksgiving recess because we recognize that families all across America are struggling, that businesses are closing, and that hospitals are overwhelmed,” said Senator Collins. “I am particularly pleased that this package includes funding for another round of Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans, which has helped keep our small businesses afloat. In Maine alone, the PPP has helped sustain the jobs of 250,000 workers.”
“After nearly nine months of the coronavirus pandemic and far too little federal support, millions of Americans are facing financial ruin. It’s past time for Congress to put political arguments aside and step up for those in need,” said Senator King. “If enacted into law, today’s bipartisan package would increase unemployment benefits to help families make ends meet, give essential assistance to small businesses on the verge of closing, provide funds to the state and local governments who’ve led the response to this crisis, and much more – including support for schools, hospitals, and vaccine distribution. This plan isn’t perfect, and will require future Congressional action in order to help our country fully weather this pandemic – but if we pass this bill before the year’s end, we’ll extend a lifeline to millions of Americans in need just as cases are spiking, CARES Act protections are expiring, and winter is arriving. The American people need us to work together to save lives and livelihoods – so let’s get it done.”
“Millions of Americans have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are hurting, but Congress has been deadlocked for months with both sides unwilling to compromise to help our fellow Americans who are in desperate need,” Senator Manchin said. “The bipartisan, bicameral framework announced today proves that we can reach across the aisle and create meaningful compromise that will help those who need it most for the next few months. Our $908 billion framework provides our front line healthcare providers, students, families, small businesses, and workers with the support they need and deserve during this devastating pandemic. I urge my fellow colleagues to work with our bipartisan, bicameral group on this proposal so Congress can finally pass an emergency COVID-19 relief package to help Americans and West Virginians during this difficult stretch of the pandemic.”
“After many days of bipartisan negotiations, I’m proud that we’ve reached a compromise to help Americans get through the holiday season, while providing much-needed relief for small businesses, local governments, health care providers, and low-income and minority communities, among others,” said Senator Warner. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put the months of stalled negotiations behind us, and to support this bipartisan compromise in order to ensure that families across the country are not forced to spend the holiday unable to put food on the table.”
“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.
“Throughout New Hampshire – from small businesses struggling to make payroll to hospitals fighting to keep their doors open and beds available – I’m hearing from Granite Staters who cannot wait any longer. And they shouldn’t. Over a quarter of a million Americans have died from COVID and more than 13.5 million Americans have been afflicted with it. The human toll of this crisis is crushing – and that’s before we even address the severe economic fallout it created,” said Senator Shaheen. “Some of those hardest hit have been our small businesses. When this body came together in March, we worked in good-faith to deliver the CARES Act that provided immediate relief through the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. We put our heads together again and have come up with a new bipartisan framework to build on that progress to help small businesses get to the other side of this crisis, and to provide funds for state and local government governments, support for vaccine development and distribution, assistance for our schools and universities, and relief for our health care providers. But this is just step one. We need more leaders on both sides of the aisle to join us so we can finish what we’ve started and deliver the relief that Americans are calling for.”
“I am honored to work with an exceptional group of Senators, as well as colleagues in the House, on a bipartisan measure to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In my home state of Alaska, Anchorage is officially going into our third round of hunker-down orders, shutting down businesses, restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms—essentially bringing to a halt the day-to-day life of many people in Anchorage. Many of our rural villages and off road communities are also in various stages of shutdown to control the spread of this awful virus. These lockdowns come at a significant cost. As the long winter approaches, the uncertainties of job loss, food insecurity, and stable housing all continue to grow,” said Senator Murkowski. “Our response – our responsibility – is to come together not as Republicans with a plan or Democrats with a counter-plan, but coming together with a proposal that will provide for targeted emergency relief for the American people. I am calling on my colleagues to join us in advancing the proposal we offer today, to provide much-needed relief for our nation.”
“This is not a $1.8 trillion stimulus bill. This is a relief measure half that amount—$908 billion, with $560 billion in repurposed funds from the first CARES Act, so the amount of new money is actually $348 billion,” Senator Romney said. “Included in this measure is a liability provision that provides a temporary suspension of any liability-related lawsuits at the state or federal level associated with COVID-19, giving states enough time to put in place their own protections. I am very pleased to be part of this effort, and urge my colleagues to come together on a deal.”
“Our bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief framework provides the most viable path forward in months, and we must seize this opportunity now to provide critical relief for the American people,” Senator Hassan said. “I am grateful to my colleagues from both parties for coming together on this bipartisan effort, and I will do everything I can to get a deal across the finish line.”
The House Problem Solvers Caucus, made up of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, helped draft and endorsed the package.
A breakdown of the COVID-19 emergency relief framework can be found here.