After a $908 billion bipartisan package was revealed on Capitol Hill Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer abandoned a secret stimulus bill they had been working on. The two senior Democratic leaders had reportedly already sent the proposal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though they have since dropped the effort and will instead shift their focus to backing the bipartisan proposal, Business Insider reports.
News of the secret proposal was first reported on by The Washington Post, who reported that Pelosi and Schumer had approached the GOP at the beginning of the week with the package. Pelosi, in a Tuesday statement, seemed to indicate that it had also been sent to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Details of the package, however, have not been provided, with Schumer calling it a "private proposal" that was to "help us move the ball forward." Pelosi and Schumer abandoned the idea following the Tuesday introduction of a bipartisan bill totaling more than $900 billion, which they backed in a joint statement.
"While we made a new offer to Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy on Monday, in the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations," the statement read in part. "Of course, we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement. With the imminent availability of the vaccine, it is important for there to be additional funding for distribution to take the vaccine to vaccination. This distribution effort will be led by the states further increasing the need for funding for state and local governments."
The new proposal, one of four major proposals in play (it joins the Democrats' preferred plan, which would cost more than $2 trillion; the GOP's preferred plan costing $500 billion; and Schumer and Pelosi's "private proposal," according to Business Insider) seeks to target the most pressing issues of the ongoing crisis. It would provide $288 billion in Paycheck Protection Program small business loans, $160 billion in state and local government aid, $82 billion for schools, $45 billion for transportation, $180 billion in additional unemployment insurance, and $16 billion for vaccine distribution, testing, and contact tracing, among several other measures. It does not include a second round of direct stimulus payments.
The proposal seems to be the most promising proposal to arise since the passage of the CARES Act in late March and is enjoying a growing number of supporters, including President-elect Joe Biden. It is facing some opposition, however, including from McConnell, who has his own smaller bill in play, which President Donald Trump is reportedly prepared to sign if it is approved by Congress.