They want to send out another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, while cutting those $600 weekly unemployment benefits to $200.
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Last night, Senate Republicans unveiled a $1 trillion proposal they’re calling the HEALS Act (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools), which is the opening bid in what is sure to be a contentious negotiation with Senate Democrats over the next wave of economic relief. Democrats proposed their own stimulus plan back in May, and have been awaiting the Republicans’ response, particularly since the additional federal unemployment benefits under the CARES Act were set to expire at the end of July, and the national eviction moratorium sunsetted last week.
The Republican proposal — which took so long in part because senators struggled to find consensus with the White House — offers plans for a variety of actions. Notably, Republicans want to send out another round of $1,200 stimulus checks directly to families and individuals. They also want to significantly slash the enhanced federal unemployment benefits from $600 a week to $200 a week, which is likely to be the toughest sell to Democrats.
In addition, they want to offer another round of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to the hardest-hit small businesses (those who have lost 50 percent or more in revenue), as well as tax incentives for businesses to rehire employees. They also want to give $105 billion to schools, and $16 billion for more COVID-19 testing.
Mitch McConnell’s sticking point has been liability protections for businesses, schools, hospitals and nonprofits, and that was also included in the proposed bill.
Related: When Will My Next Stimulus Check Arrive? (Updated)