Second Stimulus Check: GOP Senators Propose Far Lower Payment but Expand Eligibility for Families

Several prominent Senate Republicans have proposed a change to the second stimulus package, which is currently being hammered out. The current proposal, dubbed the HEALS Act, would provide the same one-time $1,200 stimulus check, along with $500 for every dependent.

However, Senators Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Steve Daines and Bill Cassidy have proposed lowering the payout to $1,000, according to NBC News. However, there would be a much wider window of eligibility, as everyone regardless of age or dependent status would qualify. Billed as the Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act, it would stipulate that both adults and dependents have valid Social Security numbers. If it were to go into effect, a qualifying family of four could potentially receive $4,000, instead of the $3,400 they would've gotten under the CARES Act.

The proposal does directly contradict President Donald Trump, who on multiple occasions promised both "larger" and "higher" payments than the CARES Act provided. That amount even exceeds the HEROES Act, which was passed by the House in May but has been repeatedly dismissed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as an "unserious proposal." However, it does align with McConnell's recent idea that certain aspects of the stimulus bill would be broken up into smaller packages, including additional unemployment benefits. Which, incidentally, Congress failed to extend before they're set to expire on Friday.

Given the apparent gridlock and the substantial amount of infighting within the GOP itself, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went after McConnell and his Republican colleagues on Twitter. "I would hope that over 10 weeks of failing to act, Leader McConnell would at least get his facts straight: The House-passed [Heroes Act] extends the enhanced unemployment benefits families are depending on — while his 'proposal' slashes benefits by $400 a week." The latter remark refers to the HEALS Act's proposed unemployment benefits, which would only allow an extra $200 per week instead of the previous $600 under the CARES Act.

The GOP also came under fire from numerous critics, and Trump himself, after it was reported that the HEALS Act allocated nearly $2 billion for a new FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. There's also the $377 million to "modernize" the West Wing of the White House, which also drew some scrutiny, although not nearly as much.