By Ramsey Touchberry | Newsweek |
A massive new economic stimulus that clocks in at $3 trillion—even more than the historic $2 trillion package passed in March—would provide most Americans with another installment of $1,200 for each individual, with a maximum of $6,000 per household.
House Democrats’ 1,800-page HEROES Act would also extend weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through January; give $1 trillion to state, local and tribal governments; provide $200 billion for a boost in pay to essential workers; and give $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and free treatment, among other provisions.
However, the package is dead-on-arrival with Republicans.
“Let me be clear,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of GOP Senate leadership, “that is not gonna happen.”
The Democratic-led House, which is on recess, will return to Washington, D.C., on Friday to approve the legislation. Its passage will come as the ongoing pandemic has plunged the country into unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression and states beginning to reopen their economies by lifting social distancing guidelines.
Democrats crafted the legislation without consultation of their colleagues across the aisle or in the White House, lending Republicans to label the proposal a “Democrat wish list” long before the final text was unveiled. Republicans are pushing for liability protections for businesses against lawsuits as they start to reopen and they remain split on when—and if—more aid like state and local funding should be doled amid a mountain of skyrocketing debt.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump wants payroll tax cuts, a proposal that on Capitol Hill receives a lukewarm response among Republicans and disapproval among Democrats.
But even some Democrats aren’t entirely thrilled with the HEROES Act, namely progressives. Congressional Progressive Caucus co-Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and some of her more liberal colleagues had pushed for her Paycheck Guarantee Act, an idea where the federal government would pay for Americans’ salaries for three months for those who earn up to $100,000.
The HEROES Act also includes $10 billion in emergency grants for small businesses; creates a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; $175 billion in rent, mortgage and utility relief; a 15 percent increase to food stamps; and more resources for the November elections and the U.S. Postal Service.
Similar to the first round of checks, the individual economic relief would be gradually phased out for joint filers, head of households and individuals whose adjusted gross incomes exceed $150,000, $112,500 and $75,000, respectively.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is slated to give a press conference at 3 p.m. EST about the new bill.