A six-page framework of the moderates’ plan, which was obtained by The New York Times, said the group had an “agreement in principle” for providing $160 billion to state and local governments and offering liability protections to businesses and other institutions open during the pandemic “as the basis for good-faith negotiations.” But it omitted any substantive details.
The lack of specifics underscored the remaining hurdles for the group, which has steadily broadened in recent days, as it works to complete its plan. And some senators acknowledged that the success of any final agreement rested with congressional leaders in both chambers who had yet to fully embrace their work.
“I think at the end of the day that has to be largely negotiated between the speaker and the majority leader,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, who complimented the group on its progress so far. “If they have a broad base of consensus they can start with, maybe that makes it easier for them to make the final determinations.”
The moderates’ outline would revive the weekly federal unemployment benefit at $300 a week for 16 weeks, from the end of December to April, and extend a series of unemployment programs set to expire at the end of the month. It would supply $10 billion for child care providers, $25 billion in rental assistance, $82 billion for education providers, $6 billion for vaccine development and distribution, and $7 billion for state, local and tribal governments to conduct testing and tracing.
Their plan would repurpose money Mr. Mnuchin clawed back from the Federal Reserve and leftover funds in the expired Paycheck Protection Program and allow small businesses to receive another loan from the popular small-business program. It notably does not include another round of stimulus checks, which some lawmakers — including Senators Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, and Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri — have lobbied for in recent days.
And while Democratic leaders have called it a starting point for negotiations, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has not endorsed it. Instead, he suggested on Tuesday that Democrats drop their demand for funding for state and local governments in exchange for Republicans dropping their insistence on including a liability shield for businesses, an idea that Democrats immediately rejected.