GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The pandemic and current new state restrictions that have once again impacted businesses and workers brings up a question we’ve been talking about all summer and into the fall: Will there be another stimulus?
On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, sounded an optimistic note.
The Problem Solvers Caucus that Upton is a part of may have a bigger say in what happens in Congress. The caucus is a group of 50 lawmakers evenly made up of Democrats and Republicans who agree to support legislation collectively. With Democrats’ margin of control in the House becoming more narrow after the election, a group of 50 votes could have a major impact.
The recently reelected Upton hopes the Problem Solvers can play a role in another stimulus even before the new Congress is sworn in next year.
“We’ve laid some groundwork,” he said. “The Problem Solvers Caucus had a couple of meetings this week. We’re hoping we can come up with a package that can pass the muster, obviously bipartisan. that the president can support. But we really just can’t wait until next year,” he said, citing new restrictions around the country that are hurting businesses and limiting tax revenue going into governments and hospitals stretched to capacity amid surges in multiple states.
“Particularly now as we’re on the threshold of getting a vaccine FDA approval, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got funding in the pipeline to actually get it distributed across the country,” Upton said. “All these are new costs. They all have to be included in a package. And I’m hopeful we can get it done in those two weeks of December when Congress comes back rather than have to wait until January, end of January or even February,” he said.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday reiterated her call on Congress to pass another relief package as cases surge in Michigan and in other states. She said she and fellow Democrats had sent a leader to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as well as other congressional leaders urging them to quickly reach and pass another relief package, referencing some 600,000 Michigan residents receiving unemployment benefits who are relying on extra federal assistance.
The wild card, of course, is getting the Democratic majority in the House and Republican majority in the Senate to agree on a price tag that. They are currently trillions of dollars apart.
The final step would be to get the president’s signature on a deal. That, too, is questionable.