Bipartisan Group Tries To Break Up Stimulus Logjam With $1.5T Proposal

Lawmakers calling themselves the House Problem Solvers Caucus float a recovery package aimed at pushing Democratic leaders and White House officials to resume negotiations on a coronavirus relief economic relief package.

Frustrated Lawmakers Draft Their Own Pandemic Aid Package 

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Tuesday will put forward their own plan to deliver badly needed coronavirus relief amid a bitter stalemate between their party leaders. The House Problem Solvers Caucus has assembled a roughly $2 trillion plan that includes a second round of stimulus checks, unemployment aid and small business loans that they say would last through at least next spring. Lawmakers involved described it as a final attempt to pry loose some kind of bipartisan relief deal before Congress leaves Washington for the election season, with the U.S. economy sputtering and millions still out of work. (Ferris, 9/15)

The New York Times:
Amid Stimulus Impasse, Bipartisan Group Offers $1.5 Trillion Compromise

But the bulk of its proposed spending would fall somewhere in the middle of what the two parties have championed. The measure would reinstate lapsed federal jobless aid at $450 per week for eight weeks, then replace up to $600 weekly in lost wages for an additional five weeks. That is more than Republicans wanted, but less than the flat, $600-a-week benefit that lapsed at the end of July, which Democrats have insisted must be extended in full. And the proposal would send $500 billion to strapped state and local governments, less than the nearly $1 trillion Democrats included in their $3.4 trillion stimulus plan that passed the House in May, but roughly double what the White House has signaled it could support. (Fandos and Cochrane, 9/15)

The Wall Street Journal:
Some Democrats Press For Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Before Election Day

There is no vote on coronavirus-related aid scheduled for the House’s current three-week session. Anxious Democratic lawmakers, including incumbents defending competitive seats, want negotiators to return to the table to strike a deal before Congress takes a monthlong break for campaigning. “We’ve got to get something across the finish line now,” said Rep. Kendra Horn, an Oklahoma Democrat who represents a district President Trump won in 2016. This back-and-forth, us-versus-them, tit-for-tat, it doesn’t help my community, it doesn’t help people in my district who need it.” (Andrews and Peterson, 9/15)

Congress’s Failure To Pass Stimulus Hurts Unemployed Black Americans And People Of Color

With white unemployment in single digits, minority unemployment in double digits, and policymakers cutting federal unemployment insurance by triple digits, the country finds itself in a situation similar to the one it faced during the Great Recession. Now, just as then, minorities are bearing the brunt of the recession. Now, just as then, policymakers are failing to account for that fact — and in doing so, are threatening to reinforce the United States’ long-simmering racial inequalities. The national unemployment rate fell to single digits in August, at 8.4 percent. However, that number conceals America’s racially stratified economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while white unemployment fell to 7.3 percent in August, the Black unemployment rate was at 13.0 percent, the Hispanic rate at 10.5 percent, and the rate for Asian Americans was 10.7 percent. (Ross Coleman, 9/14)

In other legislative news —

‘So Skeptical’: As Election Nears, Iowa Senator Under Pressure For COVID-19 Remarks

On Labor Day weekend, a parade of tractors brandishing Trump flags rolled down Highway 30 through the northwest Iowa town of Denison.Farmer Leon Venteicher, a Trump enthusiast who receives chemotherapy to treat his cancer, pulled off the road when he and his wife noticed the parade. “We are very cautious,” he said. “We wear our masks if we can’t control the crowd.” (9/13)

The Hill:
Democratic Senate Candidate ‘Hesitant’ To Get COVID-19 Vaccine If Approved This Year 

Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham said on Monday night that he would be “hesitant” to get a coronavirus vaccine if it is approved by the end of the year, raising concerns about potential political interference with the approval process. “Yes, I would be hesitant, but I’m going to ask a lot of questions. I think that is incumbent on all of us right now, in this environment, with the way we’ve seen politics intervening in Washington,” Cunningham said during a debate against Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). (Carney, 9/14)

Texas Rep. Ron Wright Hospitalized Due To Cancer Treatment

U.S. Rep. Ron Wright of Texas was admitted to a Dallas hospital due to complications surrounding his cancer treatment, his campaign said Monday. Wright, a 67-year-old Republican, was elected in 2018 to Texas’ 6th congressional district in Arlington. His campaign said in a statement that Wright has “been in a tough battle with cancer this year” and was admitted to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland for treatment earlier this month before returning home. (9/14)

States Plow Forward With Pot, With Or Without Congress

Roughly 1 in 3 Americans could have access to legal recreational marijuana if voters approve state ballot initiatives this November. While a planned House vote on legalizing weed at the federal level is scheduled for later this month, the real action remains in the states. That’s because even if the House measure passes, there’s zero chance the Republican-controlled Senate will take up the bill, which would eliminate federal criminal penalties and erase some past marijuana convictions. (Demko, Zhang and Fertig, 9/13)

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