Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is applauding reports that say a bipartisan group of U.S. senators will propose a massive economic stimulus package today after many months of delays.
Grassley, a Republican, says he’s encouraged that members of both parties are finally finding common ground in order to help the nation’s struggling economy survive the pandemic.
Grassley says, “If it’s got any chance of passing, whatever number it adds up to, all of the components would have to be something where there’s already bipartisan agreement on.”
The $908-billion package is said to include $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, $240-billion for state and local governments, as well as a six-month moratorium on some coronavirus-related lawsuits. Grassley says if the issues already have bipartisan support, the measure has a much better chance of passing.
“There’s just massive numbers of things that don’t get a lot of attention that have that sort of an agreement,” Grassley says. “The figure of 900-billion may be a little bit high but it sure sounds a lot less than two-and-two-tenths trillion is the last thing that Pelosi proposed.”
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been negotiating with the White House on a stimulus plan since August, Grassley says Senate Republicans have offered four separate plans in recent months, all of which were rejected by Democrats. He says the focus needs to be on things everyone can agree upon.
“More money for testing, money for K-through-12 education because our local school districts have a lot of expenses to keep their classrooms open or even for distance learning,” Grassley says. “And then more help for hospitals and front line workers.”
Another area with wide support, according to Grassley, is pumping more federal dollars into small businesses, especially restaurants and the Paycheck Protection Program.