Bipartisan group unveils new details on COVID-19 relief measure

A bipartisan group of House and Senate moderates on Wednesday circulated more details of their $908 billion coronavirus relief proposal, but their summary did not include more specifics on two key issues where there is disagreement between Democrats and Republicans.

The summary, obtained by The Hill, lacks details on the $160 billion that would be provided to state and local governments, as well as on liability protection for businesses. In both cases, the document says there are agreements in principle “as the basis for good faith negotiations.”

State and local aid is strongly supported by Democrats, but many Republicans have reservations. On the other hand, liability protection is a priority for Republicans but faces opposition from Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday afternoon suggested setting aside both issues and just passing a coronavirus relief package that includes other elements where there is more consensus.

But Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-Calif.) — who have said that the bipartisan proposal should serve as the basis for negotiations — blasted McConnell for proposing to leave out funding for state and local governments and argued that McConnell is undermining the bipartisan talks.

Later on Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE presented to Pelosi a $916 billion proposal that includes state and local governments and liability protection. Schumer and Pelosi argued that Mnuchin’s proposal didn’t include enough funds for unemployment insurance.

While the new summary of the moderates’ proposal does not provide more details on state and local aid and liability protection, it does flesh out other parts of the outline that the authors of the proposal released last week.

Lawmakers involved in crafting the proposal include Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-W.Va.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerAdvocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democrats draw red lines in spending fight Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (D-Va.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyGOP senator on Texas abortion law: Supreme Court will 'swat it away' when 'it comes to them in an appropriate manner' GOP hopes spending traps derail Biden agenda Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect MORE (R-La.), as well as Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerCongress braces for spending fights amid threat of government shutdown Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill Sirota slams 'fake argument' for splitting infrastructure package, reconciliation bill MORE (D-N.J.) and Tom ReedTom ReedLIVE COVERAGE: Tax hikes take center stage in Ways and Means markup It's now Pelosi's move on bipartisan roads bill The Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act is an industry game-changer MORE (R-N.Y.).

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the new summary, the proposal would extend unemployment insurance programs that are set to expire at the end of the month for 16 weeks, and provide a $300 per week federal boost to benefits from the end of December into April.

The new summary also provides more details concerning the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program for small businesses.

According to the summary, the proposal would make businesses eligible for a second PPP loan if they have 300 or fewer employees and had revenue loss of 30 percent in any quarter in 2020. It also would make local chambers of commerce eligible for PPP loans, expand the types of expenses that PPP loans can be used for and be forgiven, and include set asides to ensure that the smallest businesses and businesses in underserved communities receive loans. Additionally, it would simplify the loan forgiveness process for businesses that received loans of $150,000 or less, and it would specify that businesses expenses paid with PPP loan proceeds are tax deductible.

In addition to including funds for the PPP, the bipartisan proposal would also include separate funding for live venue operators hurt by pandemic-related stay-at-home orders.

The proposal would extend the eviction moratorium until the end of January, and provide $25 billion in rental assistance to state and local and Native American tribes. It would extend student loan forbearance provisions through the end of April.

Other areas of the proposal where the summary offers details include funds for health care and education providers, vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, and food assistance.