Second stimulus check: what’s in the GOP bill to be voted on this week?
Tomorrow the Senate is scheduled to vote on a GOP half trillion stimulus bill, just a fraction of the $2.2 tn bill that passed in the House this month.
Wednesday marks yet another crucial date in the seemingly endless back and forth of stimulus bill negotiations. The bill, to be voted on in the Senate is for a total of $500 billion.
The Democrat-led House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion bill called the HEROES Act, which had little chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate where many are fiercely opposed to any bill exceeding a total of $1trillion.
Meanwhile, a larger bipartisan deal remains elusive, though both Republicans and Democrats seem increasingly eager as Election Day nears.
Mitch McConnell was keen to make clear that the hold up was Democrats’ fault, saying that if they don’t “obstruct this legislation” then there would be time for the GOP package to pass as well as to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
President Trump has said in no uncertain terms in recent weeks that the priority for his party was confirming the new justice, as opposed to focusing on economic relief negotiations.
What’s in the new GOP bill to be voted on in Senate tomorrow?
This latest bill will include expanded unemployment benefits, funding for schools and a second round of the Payment Protection Program. Today the Senate votes separately on a standalone PPP fund.
Groundhog day: skinny bill blocked in Senate
Democrats blocked a $500 billion “skinny” Republican bill in the Senate just last month and this latest effort will most likely meet the same fate. Democrats maintain that the amount is simply not sufficient to boost the economy and provide desperately needed aid to individuals and businesses across the US.
Bipartisan bill “making progress”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still in on going talks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on a bipartisan agreement on a larger, more comprehensive bill. Both sides claim they are making progress and “continue to narrow their differences”, but to date an accord still seems out of reach.
On Saturday Pelosi set a 48-hour deadline to pass a bill before the 3 November election day, which has now passed.
However yesterday evening Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill tweeted that talks were progressing, and that the Speaker remained hopeful that by the end of Tuesday “we will have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election.”
Four coronavirus aid packages passed so far
Earlier this year, Congress quickly passed four major bills providing about $3 trillion to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, most notably the $2.2-trillion CARES Act.
In May, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a bill that would provide another $3.4 trillion in aid, but the proposal has not been taken up by the Senate.
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