I agree with Sen. Mark Warner and with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) that people and businesses are really struggling and need help from the federal government, but…is this “new bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 relief deal” – as Rep. Spanberger calls it – the right approach? First, here are some details:
The roughly $908 billion proposal includes $288 billion in small business aid such as Paycheck Protection Program loans, $160 billion in state and local government relief and $180 billion to fund a $300 per week supplemental unemployment benefit through March, according to a draft framework. It would put $16 billion into vaccine distribution, testing and contact tracing, funnel $82 billion into education, put $45 billion into transportation and allocate funds for rental assistance, child care and broadband.
The proposal would not include another direct payment to most Americans. It also would offer temporary federal protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits — a provision Democrats have opposed — while states determine their own laws.
I mean, it’s something, at least, and also something of a compromise between the House’s $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and Mitch McConnell’s totally inadequate – and fatally flawed – $500 billion bill. Note, however, that the $908 billion total in this “bipartisan” bill is much closer to McConnell’s $500 billion than to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal. Also note that this “bipartisan” bill “is light on details,” so it’s hard to fully evaluate, but among other things it includes “a temporary moratorium on some coronavirus-related lawsuits against firms and other entities — a key Republican priority opposed by most Democrats.” Plus, will this approach – watered down as it is – even get anywhere? I’m highly skeptical. What do you think?
Enough. Leadership in the House and Senate have dragged their feet for months, while families in #VA07 line up at food banks.
— Rep. Abigail Spanberger (@RepSpanberger) December 1, 2020