Republican stimulus plan includes unemployment money, no second stimulus check
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate plans to vote on a “targeted” coronavirus stimulus bill as soon as the end of this week.
The plan includes money for enhanced unemployment insurance, healthcare, education and a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to a statement from McConnell.
What it does not include is a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks or any additional money for cities and states.
McConnell called the bill a “targeted proposal, focused on some of the very most urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues.” A procedural vote on the measure could come as early as Thursday.
Democrats, who are looking for money for cash-strapped cities and states, have vowed the bill will go “nowhere.”
In a joint statement Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said “Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems … .”
McConnell said the bill was necessary because Pelosi and Schumer were holding funding hostage until after the Nov. 3 General Election.
“Everything Speaker Pelosi and [Senate Minority] Leader Schumer have done suggests one simple motivation: They do not want American families to see any more bipartisan aid before the polls close on President Trump’s reelection,” McConnell said in a statement. “They have taken Americans' health, jobs, and schools hostage for perceived partisan gain.”
The bill is the third version of a coronavirus aid bill put forth since the spring. In May, Democrats proposed a $3 trillion bill that included money for state governments and the U.S. Postal Service. In July, Republicans introduced the HEALS Act that had money for liability protection for businesses, government agencies and schools as they reopen, and money for a stimulus check of $1,200 for 180 million Americans.
Here is what the GOP bill proposes:
Education: The plan would provide $105 billion for schools and $15 billion for childcare centers. The bulk of the $105 billion would go to schools that have in-person instruction. Included in funding for education would be money for school choice scholarships. The money allows parents to send their children to a public or private school outside their school district.
The money for childcare centers is earmarked for cleaning materials, safety equipment and other expenses needed to make daycares more sanitary.
Unemployment: The bill allows for $300 a week in federal unemployment insurance. The payments would last until the week ending on Dec. 27.
U.S. Postal Service: The bill would forgive $10 billion in loans the Postal Service received in March under the CARES Act if the agency meets certain conditions.
Small business: Small businesses that have fewer than 300 employees and have seen a revenue drop of at least 35% in the first and second quarters of the year would be able to apply for a second PPP loan. The amount a small business owner can borrow would be reduced from $10 million to $2 million.
Liability protections: The bill provides protection for employers against lawsuits brought by workers over COVID-19-related issues. Employees could still sue an employer for exposure to coronavirus, but they would have to meet strict requirements to bring a suit.
The bill also addresses liability protections for health care providers and their staff. A patient would only be able to bring a suit if willful misconduct or gross neglect can be proved.
Health care: The bill also includes $16 billion for COVID-19 testing and $31 billion for vaccine development.
Sixty votes are needed for the bill to pass the Senate. Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate.
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