New payments: US lawmakers have proposed another financial aid plan in connection with COVID-19
After weeks of deadlocked talks on a new round of federal coronavirus aid, a bipartisan group of 50 House lawmakers has drafted a new proposal, says Forbes.
The proposal includes another round of direct payments of $ 1200 to individuals, plus $ 500 per child and dependent adult, a position supported by Democrats, some Republicans and the White House.
The legislation will increase the Small Business Payroll Protection Program by an additional $ 95 billion and reassign the remaining $ 145 billion from the first round of the program.
The proposal is to reinstate Federal Supplemental Unemployment Benefits at $ 450 per week for 8 weeks, then replace lost wages to $ 600 per week (capped so that benefits do not exceed lost income) within 5 weeks thereafter.
The project also includes an additional $ 500 billion to state and local governments, a top priority for Democrats, who initially requested $ 1 trillion in new aid, on top of the $ 130 billion left over from CARES.
In addition, it offers $ 100 billion in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing and public health, $ 25 billion in mortgages and rental assistance, $ 130 billion in schools, $ 15 billion in postal services and $ 400 million in elections.
The plan will also extend the 2020 census deadline and will include expanded worker protections along with liability protections for businesses and schools.
“We can't afford to do nothing until the next inauguration,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer said. "So we found a way - and this is just the basis - to hopefully sit down at the negotiating table again."
While the new proposal lays broad ground for compromise on many of the issues that have divided lawmakers in recent weeks and months, including state aid, local aid and federal unemployment benefits, it is likely to meet with strong opposition in the Republican-led Senate.
The main stumbling block will be the $ 1,5 trillion, which could rise to about $ 2 trillion in the new year if the crisis has not eased by then. While the White House made it clear that it could support a $ 1,3 trillion (or even up to $ 1,5 trillion) bill, the GOP was adamant that the price of any new aid package should not exceed $ 1 trillion - the size of the original HEALS law proposal released in July.
On the other hand, the initial Democratic proposal was worth a staggering $ 3,4 trillion. Last week, the Senate GOP tried but failed to pass an even smaller, more targeted bill that would provide $ 300 billion in new spending (plus $ 350 billion in funding to be diverted from existing appropriations).
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