GOP Rolls Out $1T Covid-19 Stimulus Package

July 28, 2020

Senate Republicans have unveiled a $1 trillion stimulus package aimed at assisting businesses and individuals in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and will now grapple with Democrats, whose plan calls for a $3.5 trillion package.

The GOP plan would send new $1,200 checks to the same Americans who were eligible to receive them this spring as part of the original $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed into law in March, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Republicans’ proposal would also provide around $190 billion for companies to apply for a second loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, the newspaper writes. 

The forgivable loan program aimed at helping small businesses cover wages, and  many financial advice firms took advantage of the program. But it has come under criticism over alleged favoritism toward bigger firms, among other issues. Still, data from the Small Business Administration, which administers the loans, released earlier this month showed that that the loans could help spare close to 28,000 investment advice industry jobs, as reported. 

The GOP proposal rolled out Monday also calls for extending supplemental unemployment benefits through September, but would cut those checks by two-thirds, from $600 per week to $200. The payments would be combined with state benefits to cover 70% of the unemployed worker's previous wages, according to the newspaper. Democrats in the House had proposed extending the $600 per week in unemployment supplement  through January 2021.

The Senate was expected to announce a stimulus package last week but disagreements with the Trump administration delayed its release, the Financial Times reported on Friday. 

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., argued that the GOP proposal was an appropriate response, the Journal reports. 

“We have one foot in the pandemic, and one foot in the recovery. The American people need more help. They need it to be comprehensive, and they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroads. That is what this Senate majority has assembled,” he said, according to the newspaper.

Democrats, however, have slammed the Republicans’ package as too little, too late, the Journal writes. 

“Senate Republicans just ran down the clock and tossed an air ball,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., according to the newspaper. 

In addition to calling for larger supplemental employment benefits, the Democrats’ proposal includes sending close to $1 trillion to state and local governments, the Journal writes. The Republican bill has no such provision. The Democrats have also called for raising the $500 child benefit introduced in the original CARES Act to $1,200 per child for up to three children per family. The Republican plan keeps the benefit at $500 but extends it to dependents over the age of 16, according to the newspaper. The first round did not provide coverage for children 17 or older.

The likelihood of a package coming out any time soon remains low. In addition to pushback from the Democrats, the Republicans are faced with disagreements among their own ranks, the Journal writes. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said over the weekend that half of the GOP caucus wouldn’t support the current Republican proposal, according to the newspaper. 

And while White House officials have suggested the possibility of splitting some of the initiatives into separate bills in order to pass them faster, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has continuously rejected the idea, the Journal writes. 

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By Alex Padalka
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