Bipartisan House Group Introduces Stimulus Bill, But It’s Unlikely To Go Anywhere

( Leaders in Congress and the White House have been unable to come to a consensus on a fifth coronavirus stimulus bill.

But on Monday, rank-and-file members of the House did.

A bipartisan group of representatives are set to unveil a $2 trillion stimulus package that seeks to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill itself has little chance of actually passing and becoming law, but it could serve to once again jump start talks between Democratic and Republican leaders in Washington, D.C.

The proposal only gives overall numbers for each of the areas it will support. It doesn’t include policy details that are normally in bills of this magnitude. In this regard, the legislation is more symbolic than anything else.

It could work, though, as it’s the first bipartisan plan to come out of either Chamber of Congress thus far.

The package would include a second round of direct payments to millions of American, an extension on unemployment benefits, funding for both schools and small businesses, and money to aid with the elections in November. It even achieved a consensus on one of the main issues that’s been holding up negotiations — money for local and state governments.

One member of the group of 50 House representatives, who wished to remain anonymous, said to CNN:

“People are clearly frustrated. A lot of Americans want to see action.”

The group is called the Problem Solvers Caucus. It is led by Republican Tom Reed of New York and Democrat Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. Their plan would be a short-term spending plan to provide funding through the presidential inauguration in January.

Group members also said they wanted the plan to serve as an outline to convince House leadership and officials from the White House to start negotiating again.

One member involved in the group said: “This is analogous to a test balloon.” He said he believed the proposal would be “warmly” received by many members of the House of Representatives.

There was quite the divide between the two sides the last time they spoke. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly called for a spending plan that would top $2.2 trillion. The White House, meanwhile, has insisted that spending not exceed $1 trillion.

Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a $500 billion “skinny” stimulus bill, but it died in the Senate after not getting enough votes.

In the meantime, President Donald Trump has issued four executive orders to address some funding relief, but his powers only stretch so far when it comes to spending money.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, told CNBC that the president is “always considering” issuing more executive orders, “but there are limitations, and that’s why it’s very important that we have stimulus that helps areas of the economy that need support.”

“I think there is a compromise if the speaker is willing to move forward,” he said, referring to Pelosi. “I’ve told the speaker I’m available anytime to negotiate, no conditions.”