One week. That’s how much time remains before Congress heads home for Christmas.
While hundreds of thousands of Americans – schools, families, and small businesses – continue to struggle from COVID-19, both House and the Senate leadership have struggled to come together on another relief proposal. For months, members of the Problem Solvers Caucus have been finding common ground on proposals, and this week we unveiled another relief framework which has gained even more support than our first attempt in September.
On Tuesday, I joined several Republican and Democrat Senators and Representatives to announce the plan we have spent weeks working on behind the scenes. For this particular group, it’s no longer about politics, it’s about the people – and the people can’t afford to wait on Congress wasting any more time.
Our bipartisan relief framework addresses key areas of need, including testing, small business support, liability protection, food security, state and local aid, and school funding. It’s not perfect but it’s progress.
Our country’s top economists all agree our country needs an additional stimulus package to dig our way out of this COVID-19 economic slump. I know there is a lot of concern about the price tag of relief packages, but this one is more responsible than other proposals. It repurposes unused funds Congress already allocated through the CARES Act and extends the deadline for use. Our nation’s brightest minds have made it clear – if we don’t pass something now, we will pay for it later.
South Dakota is in better shape financially than the majority of the country, but our governor has been very clear she needs the deadline extended to utilize much needed federal dollars. This proposal fulfills that request.
This week’s announcement has brought congressional leadership and the White House back to the table. They are taking this proposal seriously, and I expect we will know if a relief package has a chance of becoming law in a matter of days. It’s been supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, several congressional leaders, and even President Trump has expressed optimism towards our proposal.
I’m proud of the work our group of bipartisan members of Congress were able to achieve. Americans can’t afford to wait any longer – let’s get it done.