Second Stimulus Check: Democrats Unveil Scaled-Down $2.2 Trillion Relief Package

Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have unveiled a scaled-down stimulus relief bill. The roughly $2.2 trillion legislation was unveiled Monday evening, with a vote possible later this week as Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin push for a pre-Election Day stimulus deal, something that has already been months in the making.

A pared-down version of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which was introduced by Pelosi in May and passed in the House by a vote of 208-199 later that month, this new bill marks a last-ditch effort to revive negotiations on Capitol Hill, which collapsed following the introduction of the HEALS Act. Currently being dubbed the HEROES Act 2.0, the new legislation is roughly $1.2 trillion less than the original bill passed, though it remains more than $1 trillion above Republicans’ price tag. In recent weeks, Democrats had indicated that they would be willing to meet in the middle in an effort to pass much-needed relief.

According to The Hill, the bill includes $436 billion in emergency aid for state and local governments, something that Democrats have continued to push for as the coronavirus pandemic continues to have devastating effects on the economy. The bill also includes $225 billion for schools and child care, $75 billion for testing, contact tracing and other health care efforts, billions for housing assistance, and funding to shore up the census, U.S. Postal Service and elections. HEROES Act 2.0 also includes $25 billion in funding to keep airline industry workers paid as well as $3 billion for airline contractors, a provision that President Donald Trump had backed.

Heroes Act 2.0 also retains several key benefits from the original HEROES Act. Along with local and state aid, the bill seeks to restore the $600 expanded unemployment payments through January. These benefits had been enacted under the March-approved CARES Act, though expired in July only to be replaced by a quickly expiring $300 weekly benefit. HEROES Act 2.0 also includes an additional round of stimulus checks, something that had gained bipartisan support as discussions surrounding additional stimulus relief was sparked.

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"We are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America's working families right now," Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues. "We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now."

Politico reports that that the House is preparing to vote on the package as soon as Wednesday, though it seems unlikely that Americans can expect to see any relief before the election, as Congress is soon set to break for its roughly month-long recess. The outlet reports that the HEROES Act 2.0 "will stand virtually no chance of becoming law."