The House passed a revised version of a Democratic coronavirus stimulus relief package on Thursday night, but it is unlikely to pass in the Senate, even though it is far smaller than the $3 trillion package that passed in May. The Democratic bill passed mostly along party lines, with no Republicans voting for it. The bill does include a second $1,200 stimulus check for Americans.
The new $2.2 trillion package passed with a 214-207 vote, with 18 Democrats voting against it. The vote came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday. They did not reach an aid agreement but said they will continue talking. The two sides still disagree on the amount of money to set aside for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses and schools, reports CNBC.
Senate Republicans have made it clear they will not spend any more than $1 trillion on another relief package. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the $2.2 trillion package "outlandish" and "too high." He said the two sides are still "very, very far apart on a deal," reports Business Insider. "The latest bill from the speaker is no more serious than any of their political stunts going back months," McConnell said on the Senate Floor. "If they continue to refuse to get serious, then American families will continue to hurt."
On Thursday, before the House vote, McConnell was asked about Pelosi and Mnuchin's talks. "I'm wishing them well," he said, reports Politico. "I'd like to see another rescue package. We've been trying for months."
McConnell has not been taking part in the talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin. After the House passed the HEROES Act in May, he refused to take it up and instead waited until late July to finally release his proposed $1 trillion HEALS Act. This never went up for a vote in the Senate, but a $500 billion "skinny" proposal was voted on. The small bill failed to get the necessary votes to move on, as no Democratic Senator supported it. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, also voted against it.
The new $2.2 trillion package passed in the House includes the $600-per-week federal unemployment benefit reinstated through January; another direct $1,200 payment; $436 billion in relief for state and local governments; more money for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans; $25 billion in assistance to airlines; $75 billion on COVID-19 testing and contact tracing; $225 billion for education; $57 billion for child care; and billions for rental and mortgage assistance. Mnuchin proposed a $1.6 trillion plan that would include just $250 billion for state and local governments and a $400-per-week unemployment benefit.