With American's from all over the nation hoping that a second stimulus check is on the way, the Senate GOP is proposing a new, "skinny" bill. After the coronavirus first spiked in March, lawmakers approved the CARES Act, which helped get money back into the economy and provided protections for various types of businesses. The next bill that was drafted was the HEROES Act, and it was passed by the Democrat-led House but not the GOP-led Senate, as they felt it was too costly.
Republican Senators then drafter their own bill, the HEALS Act, which Democrats did not agree with. They felt it did not provide enough assistance to citizens where needed most. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer begin negotiations with the Trump administration to try and come to an agreement on a version of the bill that would be acceptable for both parties. The divide proved to be too great, however, and the talks ended with no agreement. This led to President Trump signing executive orders on a few crucial issues, as well as Republicans writing a brand new, less comprehensive bill.
Scroll down to read what we know about them so far, including what will and will not be covered, as first reported by Forbes.
No Stimulus Checks
The new bill does not include a stimulus check provision. The CARES Act gave American taxpayers $1200, as well as an additional $500 per child, up to three children. The HEROES Act would have increased that amount, and the HEALS Act would have provided the same as the CARES Act. While this is likely concerning Americans who've been financially impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is a chance that another stimulus payment will happen at some point. Most lawmakers, including President Trump, have advocated for direct payments to citizens, so there is a strong possibility that this will eventually become a reality.prevnext
No Student Loan Relief
The new bill also does not feature any student loan relief measures. This could be due to student loan relief being one of the issues President Trump signed an executive order for. The order extends an interest-free pause on federal student loan payments for the remainder of 2020.prevnext
Weekly Federal Unemployment Benefit Extended/Reduced
Federal unemployment benefits, as they relate to this bill, is a bit of a complex situation. Currently, executive orders signed by Trump offer a $300 federal unemployment boost. This is the same amount that would be offered by the "skinny" bill, but there is no word if these would be accumulative, or if the amount that Trump ordered FEMA to distribute would be done away with. Notably, the CARES Act provided $600 in federal unemployment, which was on top of what states were able to provide.prevnext
A large portion of the new bill will focus on the USPS, which may stem from the service being in the spotlight a lot over the past week. Concerns were first sparked when President Donald Trump slammed Democrats for not agreeing to a stimulus package deal, over their desire for extra funding to the USPS, along with funding and provisions for universal mail-in voting. "It's their fault. They want $3.5 billion for something that's fraudulent. For the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots," he said during an interview with Fox Business Network's Mornings with Maria.
"They want $25 billion for the post office," Trump continued. "They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots. [...] But if they don't get those two items, then they can't have mail-in ballots." Trump then stated, "If we don't make a deal, that means they won't get the money and they won't have universal mail-in voting," he said. Later, it was revealed that the USPS was undergoing changes that could potentially negatively impact on mail-in ballot counting. This revelation led to an outcry for more funding to the USPS, which now appears to be a substantial portion of the next relief bill proposal.prevnext
Paycheck Protection Program
Paycheck Protection Program will also get an extension with the "skinny" bill. Also known as PPP, this is something that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has championed, as it protects businesses from coronavirus liability.prevnext
Education Stabilization Fund
Finally, the last notably thing included in the new GOP proposal is $105 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund. This is money that is designated to help schools as they reconvene classes wither in-person or online. The largest portion of the money is for K-12 schools. A lesser amount is reserved for higher education, and the remainder would be given to governors for the to use at their discretion for either group.prevnext
It's Not Official, Yet
The most important thing to note, at this time, is that the new GOP-drafted bill is not technically official. It has not been formally issued or presented on the Senate floor. It is possible that new provisions could be added, and already-existing measures could be altered. It has been speculated that the bill will be unveiled sometime soon, but no specific time has been offered.prev