After weeks of stalled talks, negotiations on another coronavirus stimulus relief package have picked back up, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking by phone several times since last Friday on the outlines of a new stimulus bill and a second direct payment that could come with it.
In parallel with renewed discussions, the Democratic-led House of Representatives unveiled a new economic support bill Monday that includes a second stimulus check of up to $1,200 for qualifying Americans, unemployment benefits, small business loans and airline aid. The $2.2 trillion bill could get a vote in the House this week, Politico reported. It’s based on the original Democratic-backed Heroes Act, which had a larger $3.4 trillion price tag.
A new stimulus bill could help behind a second check.
Read on to learn the proposed benefits a new stimulus package could contain if it becomes law before or after the Nov. 3 election. For more information, read up on the six top things to know about stimulus checks. We update this story regularly.
As much as $1,200 per American in a second stimulus check
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have agreed on the need for a second direct payment of up to $1,200 per eligible American adult and additional money for dependents (find out who counts as a dependent, and how old you have to be to qualify for a check of your own).
The new House bill includes similar provisions for stimulus checks as the March CARES Act did and expands who counts as a dependent, following the requirements set out in the Heroes Act.
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Funding for airlines to prevent layoffs
Payroll protections included in the CARES Act will expire on Oct. 1, and airlines are threatening to lay off thousands of workers after that point. The new House bill includes money for airlines to prevent mass layoffs.
Enhanced unemployment pay for millions of job hunters
A stop-gap measure for the federal government to fund $300 a week in enhanced unemployment pay only lasts six weeks and is already ending in some states.
A major point of contention in the debate, Democrats want a new bill to provide $600 per week on top of states’ benefit just like the CARES Act did in March. Republicans want to slim the figure to $300. The Problem Solvers proposal puts the figure at $450 for eight weeks, with an increase afterward. The new House bill includes $600 for unemployment benefits.
Payroll Protection Program to aid small businesses
Intended to help you retain your job, the Paycheck Protection Program provides forgivable loans to small businesses as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll — people who might have otherwise have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Employee tax credits to help businesses keep staff
A program administered by the IRS already exists designed to give employers a tax break for keeping employees on the payroll, through the end of 2020. A new bill could extend or enhance the program into 2021.
Extended eviction ban and potential rental assistance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used an obscure health law to suspend evictions through Dec. 13, as long as renters complete the necessary paperwork.
Without eviction protections, it’s been estimated that up to 40 million people across 17 million households could lose their homes if the economy doesn’t recover before the latest protections lapse. The new House bill is expected to contain some kind of rental assistance.
Protection for businesses from certain coronavirus lawsuits
Liability protection is high on the agenda for Republican lawmakers. Introduced in the Republicans’ HEALS Act proposal, the measure would place a limit on lawsuits levied against employers, schools and health care providers in relation to coronavirus exposure, with exceptions made for gross negligence.
Funding to help the USPS handle election season
Both Democrats and Republicans have advanced bills with an eye to help fund a US Postal Service in crisis ahead of an election in which up to 80 million people are expected to vote by mail. The House of Representatives’ USPS bill passed but hasn’t been picked up by the Senate. The Senate’s “skinny” bill didn’t clear its chamber. The new House bill includes funding for the USPS.
Money to improve election security
The pandemic is expected to create a surge of mail-in ballots during the Nov. 3 US presidential election, and many have expressed concerns over how the USPS will handle this. The government hasn’t seen evidence of a coordinated effort to commit mail-in voting fraud. But the new House bill comes with funding to ensure election security.
Money for schools to fight the coronavirus on campus
Funding to pay for hygiene protocols, testing and other accommodations during the coronavirus pandemic are top priorities on both sides of the aisle to help mitigate the virus’ spread among students and faculty. The new House bill includes money specifically for schools.
As some schools opened through August, data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows a 15% increase in cases among children in the previous two weeks, from Sept. 3 to Sept. 17.