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It’s been many months since the CARES Act provided an initial round of relief in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s not as though lawmakers haven’t been trying to move a second relief bill forward; they’ve just been unable to agree on details. But now, CNBC reports that House Democrats put together a new relief package in order to revive stalled stimulus negotiations.
What’s in the new bill?
The latest Democratic proposal comes at a $2.4 trillion price tag, which may seem hefty, but is a steal compared to the HEROES Act, which cost over $3 trillion. The HEROES Act survived a House vote, but failed to move forward in the Senate earlier this year, and one reason was the Republicans’ claim that the price tag was, in their view, exorbitant. This new proposal aims to appease Republicans while moving negotiations forward, and some of its more notable provisions include:
While Republicans and Democrats largely agree on two of the above three points — stimulus checks and PPP funding — enhanced unemployment has been a sticking point. Democrats have pushed to uphold the $600 weekly boost the CARES Act gave (that benefit expired at the end of July), while Republicans have made it clear they want to incentivize returning to work, so they want to limit the amount unemployment pays out. A big point of contention with the CARES Act boost was that it resulted in many jobless workers getting a raise on unemployment — something Republicans do not want to see happen again.
Does this latest proposal have a shot at passing?
It’s clear Americans need relief, given the relentless nature of the coronavirus pandemic and a jobless rate that remains painfully high. There’s also pressure to pass a relief bill prior to the November presidential election. But whether this latest Democratic proposal gets the job done is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, the House could vote on the Democrats’ new proposal as early as next week. That’s only one hurdle, however — if Republicans disapprove, it will stall out in the Senate, just like the HEROES Act.
Many Americans hope for added relief, specifically in the form of a second stimulus check. While it seems that Democrats and Republicans do want that money to go out sooner rather than later, that can’t happen until an official relief bill gets passed into law. At this point, negotiations would have to move at warp speed to get a round of stimulus cash out prior to early November, but technically, it could happen. And if it does, countless Americans will breathe a little easier — at least in the near term.
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