Blue Dog Coalition Backs Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Framework, Reiterates Call for Leadership to Negotiate Bipartisan Deal

Sep 17, 2020
Press Release
WASHINGTON—Today, the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition endorsed the “March to Common Ground” framework, which was developed by members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) in order to help break the gridlock on a fifth COVID-19 relief package and encourage House leadership, Senate leadership, and the White House to go back to the negotiating table.
The framework includes several bipartisan priorities that were highlighted in an August 21 letter from the Blue Dog Coalition to House and Senate leadership, in which the Blue Dogs called on leadership to restart negotiations on the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation. Specifically, the PSC’s framework includes the following Blue Dog Coalition priorities: 1) an extension of unemployment insurance benefits; 2) an expansion of the employee retention tax credit (ERTC) to keep workers tethered to their jobs and employer-sponsored health insurance; 3) support for state, local, and tribal governments, K-12 schools, and institutions of higher education; and 4) a second round of economic impact payments. In addition to the priorities included in the PSC’s framework, the Blue Dogs continue to call for stronger oversight measures to be included in the final legislation in order to protect taxpayer dollars.
“With people’s lives and livelihoods on the line, we must do all we can to work together and pass a bipartisan, bicameral COVID relief package,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), the Blue Dog Coalition’s Co-Chair for Whip. “Passing hyper-partisan bills that fail to meet the moment is politics at its worst, and refusing to find common ground while families and small businesses suffer is a dereliction of duty. The Blue Dogs applaud the Problem Solvers Caucus for doing the hard work to find bipartisan consensus in order to meet this moment, and we urge leadership of both parties to do the same as swiftly as possible.”
“House Blue Dogs are focused on pushing congressional leaders to return to the negotiating table and to forge a principled compromise that both sides can support,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), the Blue Dog Coalition’s Co-Chair for Administration. “The Problem Solvers’ framework underscores that there is common ground between Democrats and Republicans. We must put partisan politics aside and get help to the American people right away.”
“As we've seen this week, since the Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled our 'March to Common Ground' COVID relief framework, there is palpable bipartisan energy all focused on finally breaking the gridlock in Congress, getting the negotiators back to the table, and getting a deal done to help the American people,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus and Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Economic Growth. “I'm honored that the Blue Dogs are supporting this bipartisan framework and I'm looking forward to working together to get critical resources out to our families, businesses, and communities during this incredibly difficult time."
The PSC’s “March to Common Ground” framework addresses key areas of need, including COVID-19 testing, unemployment insurance, direct stimulus, worker and liability protection, small business and non-profit support, food security, schools and child care, housing, election support, and state and local aid.
In light of the urgent needs facing millions of Americans, families, and small businesses, the framework is designed for a six month horizon and through the next inauguration, except for state and local funding which extends for a full year.
Depending on the severity of the pandemic and if a successful vaccination program is adopted by March, 2021, a system of automatic “boosters” are designed to incrementally increase the amount of relief to individuals and families. Conversely, a system of “reducers” will decrease the total cost of the package.
The framework calls for both new stimulus money and the reallocation of previously appropriated “CARES Act” funding, and allocates resources to the following key categories:
  • Testing & Healthcare ($100B)
  • Direct Assistance to Individuals & Families ($316B)
  • Unemployment Assistance ($120B)
  • Small Business & Non-profit Support ($290B
  • School & Child Care ($145B)
  • State & Local Aid ($500.3B)
  • Election Support ($400M)
  • Broadband, Agriculture, USPS, & Census ($52B)
  • Worker & Liability Protections
  • Automatic Boosters & Reducers
To view the full framework, click here.