Reed, Problem Solvers Part Of Bipartisan Group Pushing COVID Relief Package

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TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) – A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and House put forward an emergency COVID-19 relief package in Washington, D.C. Tuesday morning.

Many of the senators credited the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus for bringing the group together and hammering out the proposal. GOP Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23) is co-chair of the House caucus that has 50 members, half Republicans, half Democrats.

Reed and others said Congress should adopt their proposed $908 billion relief package.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) speaking at a town hall meeting in Veteran, New York. January 26, 2019. (Celia Clarke/WSKG)

“Our job here in this great Capitol and in the dome is to listen to the American people,” Reed said. “And the American people are suffering. It is time, as my colleagues have said, to deliver these results for them.”

Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) co-chairs the Problem Solvers Caucus with Reed. Gottheimer explained that the proposal includes rental assistance ($25 billion), childcare ($10 billion) and supplemental unemployment support ($180 billion).

Gottheimer and others, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) emphasized that their plan is a temporary four month emergency relief package only meant to last from Dec. 1 to Mar. 31.  Enough time for the Biden administration to get in place and work with the new Congress on a longer term stimulus plan.

Romney said the temporary relief package will include a liability protection provision.

“We did negotiate a liability protection provision that provides a temporary moratorium on, a temporary suspension on any liability lawsuits state or federal level associated with COVID, giving states enough time to put in place their own protections,” he said.

Romney said states that have not already, should enact a COVID liability protection law for schools, universities, hospitals and businesses.

The group’s proposal also includes another Payroll Protection Plan of $288 billion for small businesses and loan forgiveness for earlier PPP loans of $150,000 or less.

Also present were Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), and Jean Shaheen (D-NH), as well as five other members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus: Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Fred Upton (R-MI), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).

The group wants to have a relief package passed and signed by President Trump before the congressional Holiday break in mid-December.