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Second stimulus package: Republicans unveil new "targeted" coronavirus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has unveiled a new coronavirus bill which includes an extra $300-per-week in unemployment benefits through 27 December.

Second stimulus package: Republicans unveil new "targeted" coronavirus bill
Jonathan Ernst REUTERS

Republicans presented a new slimmed-down coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating the new “targeted” bill would “focus on some of the very most urgent health care, education, and economic issues.”

McConnell said the new package could be put to vote as early as Thursday, as Congress scramble to pass a bill before the federal budget deadline on 31 September.

According to Fox News, the new package has allocated $500 billion to federal aid and includes an extra $300-per-week in unemployment benefits through 27 December, which is $300 less than the $600 unemployment benefits boost that was passed under the previous CARES Act and expired at the end of July.

A second round of Paycheck Protection Program funds to small businesses worth $258 billion, and $105 billion for schools and colleges have also been included in the new Republican bill. The new bill, however, does not include provisions for a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks

Democrats likely to reject new coronavirus bill

This will be Senate Republican’s second attempt to pass legislation in the upper house after McConnell’s previous $1 trillion relief package, known as the HEALS Act, failed to garner sufficient support in the Senate.

Democrats, whose $3 trillion HEROES Act was passed by the House in May but failed to do so at the Senate, have consistently said the Republican spending proposals have been too low.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi has since come down on that $3 trillion figure in an attempt to reach a breakthrough. But Pelosi has told chief Republican negotiators that she is not prepared to talk until Republicans are willing to spend at least $2.5 trillion.

With this new bill falling well short of this figure, Democrats will likely reject it if it goes to vote at the Senate later this week.