What They’re Saying: Slotkin and Problem Solvers Offer ‘Serious,’ ‘Bipartisan’ COVID Relief Plan

 In COVID-19, Election

News and opinion writers note the plan has already changed the conversation in Washington

September 18, 2020

ROCHESTER, Mich. – Since Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) and other members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus announced their COVID-19 relief framework on Tuesday, national and local opinion writers have showered praise on the proposal and media have noted how the plan has already reshaped the conversation in Washington, prompting movement from leaders of both parties and yielding a promise from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep the House at work until a deal is struck.

Slotkin joined other members of the bipartisan caucus on Tuesday in announcing the plan, the product of weeks of bipartisan conversations among the 50-member caucus evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Caucus members of both parties announced the plan to spur congressional leaders of both parties and the White House to revive stalled talks on COVID-19 relief legislation.

“People are hope-hungry,” Slotkin said. “They’re desperate and hungry for hope that Congress can just do its job. “None of us should go home and say that we didn’t do everything we could to reach an agreement, because our constituents are doing everything they can every day to get through this crisis.”

A sampling of reaction and media coverage:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “[T]his is a serious proposal to achieve a much-needed bipartisan solution. In many respects, it (represents) the contours of a reasonable middle ground. We call on the administration and congressional leaders from both parties to now come together and finalize a bill that can be enacted by the end of the month.” – Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley

The New York Times: “Amid the stalled momentum, a bipartisan group in the House made up of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans put forth a proposal on Tuesday that, while not perfect, may open prospects for a deal. The sprawling proposal, worth as much as $2 trillion, includes several measures that are worthy of widespread support.” – Columnist Jay C. Shambaugh

The Washington Post editorial board: “[T]he Problem Solvers Caucus, a 50-person group of moderate House members, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, has released the outline of a compromise that could give majorities in the House and Senate at least some of what they say they want.”

Kansas City Star editorial board: “Naturally, hyperpartisan members of the House rejected the Problem Solvers’ plan. House Democratic leadership said it didn’t do enough to address the nation’s needs. Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, called the proposal ‘problematic’ because it spends too much on state and local budgets. It’s time for everyone to knock it off. State and local budgets have been ravaged by declining revenues during the six-month COVID-19 shutdown, and they need help. Today.”

Bloomberg News opinion: “It won’t satisfy Democratic demands for huge state and local aid, or placate the Republican desire to cut costs. It might, however, be enough to keep the economy growing through the end of the year and give the U.S. a shot at avoiding another decade of labor-market pain.” – Columnist Karl W. Smith

The Washington Post: “We’re back home, and every place I go people are like, ‘What’s the status of the new covid deal? Like where is it?’ ” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich. … “And that’s business owners wanting another [small business aid] law, and that’s our food banks. That’s our teachers, I mean, it’s everybody.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Rank-and-file Democrats had been urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to go back to the table, even if it meant giving more ground to Republicans, to pass an aid bill by the election. Now, Mr. Trump’s comments have shifted the pressure to Senate Republicans. ‘I was glad to see that tweet and I hope that it gets all the leadership back in the room’ for discussions, said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.), a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus. She said the group’s proposal was meant ‘as a starting point’ to revive the negotiations.”

USA Today: “Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle denounced ‘brinkmanship’ and partisan politics for holding up the passage of another relief bill. ‘During a moment of crisis, our mission in Washington should be clear: help families stay safe and weather the storm of COVID-19,’ said Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who also represents a district won by Trump. ‘But unfortunately, amidst election season, politics has distorted that mission.’ ”

CNN: “A bipartisan group of House members on Tuesday formally unveiled a sweeping proposal to inject up to $2 trillion in aid to the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, a move aimed at jump-starting talks that have devolved into bitter acrimony and finger-pointing between the White House and Democratic leaders in the heat of this election year.”

Vox: “The Problem Solvers’ proposal, which is currently a legislative framework and not a fully fleshed-out bill, attempted to include some of the larger demands from both parties while pushing back against some of their respective concerns.”

Bloomberg News: “Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said President Donald Trump is open to the compromise $1.52 trillion stimulus proposal from a bipartisan group of House lawmakers that was an effort to break a months-long deadlock over bolstering the U.S. economy amid the pandemic.”

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