Unclear if new bipartisan pandemic relief plan will be heard in Senate

Illinois Capitol News

House Problems Solvers Caucus considering $2 trillion package

30 million cases around the world. 200,000 dead in the United States. That’s where we are more than six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency.

Some hospitals stretched thin. Businesses shut down. High unemployment.

We saw Democrats and Republicans in Congress work together and pass relief legislation early in the pandemic. Now they’re getting nowhere on another round while both parties agree something is needed.

Democrats in the House passed their $3 trillion Heroes Act in May. It went nowhere in the Senate.

Senate Republicans countered with their most recent $650 billion proposal. That failed.

Now there’s some hope a bipartisan group in the lower chamber called the House Problem Solvers Caucus can get the job done with a roughly $2 trillion proposal.

Stalemates in Washington are nothing new. These days there seems to be a lot more at stake.

I had a conversation with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) of Illinois about it on this week’s 4 The Record. We’re used to the finger-pointing in Washington. The latest is about who to blame for the failure to adopt a new round of pandemic relief.

Senate Republicans blame Democrats for not going along with their $650 billion proposal. House Democrats adopted a $3 trillion package that went nowhere in the Senate.

Duckworth explained why the Senate version wansn’t good enough and if it is worth the risk for everyday Americans who need some help.

Republican argue that there are billions of dollars that haven’t been spent from the earlier legislation. There’s a bipartisan caucus now working in the house on a plan that could be in the neighborhood of $2 trillion.

Half a trillion for state and local governments. More unemployment support. There is White House involvement.

Duckworth discussed how familiar she is with this and if it is something that Senate Republicans would allow.

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

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