Senate Republicans have unveiled their proposal for a $1 trillion HEALS Act. The act is a follow-up to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March this year. Both acts aim to boost the economy as workers and businesses struggle with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original CARES Act provided for, among other things, a $1,200 stimulus payment to qualifying Americans as well as $600 extra per week in unemployment benefits. The new HEALS Act keeps some of those provisions while slashing others. Here’s what’s included in the GOP proposal:
- $1,200 stimulus check: The GOP HEALS Act proposes a second round of economic impact payments. This would take the form of another $1,200 stimulus check. Eligibility for the stimulus check would be exactly the same as the first time. So, if you got the full $1,200 the first time, you’d get the same this time.
- An additional $500 for each dependent: The GOP proposal also allows for an additional $500 economic impact payment per dependent. This is the same as the CARES Act provided. However, this time there is no age cap on the dependent. Under the CARES Act, dependents were required to be aged 17 or younger.
- Extra unemployment payments capped at $200: One of the biggest changes between the CARES Act and the GOP HEALS Act is when it comes to additional unemployment payments. Under the CARES Act, unemployed workers were eligible for an additional $600 per week in federal funds (those additional funds expire on July 31). Under the new proposal, Republicans will allow extra unemployment payments, but they are capped at just $200 a week. This additional $200 per week unemployment payment would only go until the end of September 2020.
Where do things go from here? As CNBC points out, the GOP proposal is just their version of a second stimulus bill. Back in May, House Democrats passed their own version of a second stimulus bill, which was much more generous. Under the Democrat’s $3 trillion HEROES Act, additional unemployment benefits would be extended until January 2021 and remain $600 per week. A second stimulus check of $1,200 is also included as is a student loan debt forgiveness provision, financial support for front-line workers, and more.
With the Democrats and the Republicans being so far apart on some of the provisions in their respective bills, the next step will be for the parties to come together and hash out compromises. Unfortunately, this could take weeks, if not months. That means Americans may not see any of the eventual stimuli until the fall.