CORONAVIRUS

HEALS Act: Republican vs Democratic U.S. coronavirus relief proposals

The Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate has introduced its proposal for the next coronavirus relief package, a $1 trillion plan called the HEALS Act.

HEALS Act: Republican vs Democratic U.S. coronavirus relief proposals
Michael A. McCoy AFP

The Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate has introduced its proposal for the next coronavirus relief package, a $1 trillion plan called the HEALS Act.

Below is a look at how it compares with the HEROES Act that passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in mid-May:

Unemployment benefits

Republican plan: Would reduce the expanded unemployment benefit from the current $600 per week, which expires on Friday, to $200 a week, in addition to state unemployment benefits, and extend the program for two more months. After that, states are to pay employees about 70% of the income they had before they lost their jobs.

Democratic plan: Extends weekly enhanced unemployment payments of $600 through January 2021.

Direct payments

Senate Republican plan: Includes $1,200 per individual; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised "even more support for families who care for vulnerable adult dependents."

Democratic plan: $1,200 per family member, up to $6,000 per household.

Liability protection

Republican plan: Includes as one of its core proposals measures to protect businesses and institutions from coronavirus-related lawsuits if they are following government guidelines.

Democratic plan: did not include anything on this and Democratic leaders have pushed back against the idea.

Schools

Republican plan: Includes $70 billion for helping schools to reopen and $30 billion for colleges and universities.

Democratic plan: $100 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts and institutions of higher education in response to coronavirus.

Testing, contact tracing and treatment

Republican plan: $16 billion for coronavirus testing; $25 billion for hospitals.

Democratic plan: $75 billion for testing, tracing and isolation measures, and to support hospitals and healthcare providers and ensure free access to treatment for individuals.

Paycheck protection program

Democratic plan: Gives small businesses more flexibility with how they use loans from this program (previously they were required to use 75% for payroll expenses, or be forced to pay it back as a loan)

Republican plan: Would allow the hardest-hit smallest employers, whose revenue has declined by 50% or more, to get a second forgivable loan under the program. To qualify, businesses must have 300 or fewer employees.

State and local governments

Democratic plan: Nearly $1 trillion in aid to state, local, territorial and tribal governments to help pay first responders, healthcare workers and teachers.

Republican plan: Does not include new money, but Republicans said it would give state and local leaders more flexibility in spending the $150 billion passed into law in March.

See also

Republicans launch HEALS Act in the Senate

Republicans and Democrats divided on Senate HEALS Act

"The virus is not of natural origin and did not emerge in Wuhan"