Nearly four months after President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act into law, providing much need aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Republicans are expected to unveil the fifth stimulus package on Thursday, according to Forbes. Potentially the final relief measure amid the pandemic, according to previous statements from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the GOP has been discussing the fine details of the package ever since reconvening on Capitol Hill Monday.
Although much of the bill remains a mystery, Republicans have dropped several breadcrumbs regarding what Americans can expect from this package. Among the most crucial measures likely to provided in the package is another round of stimulus checks to Americans. Although McConnell had confirmed earlier this week that direct payments to Americans would likely be a component of the package, not much else is known about what these checks could look like. Currently, the amount and eligibility of the payments have not been publicly commented on.
Another hot topic amid negotiations was the $600 in enhanced unemployment benefits. Approved under the CARES Act, the weekly payment is currently set to expire on July 31, with Democrats arguing that there is a need for it to be extended. Republicans, who have been far more hesitant to extend the aid, will reportedly include an adjusted extension in the relief package, though it will not be of the full amount. Current reports suggest that Republicans will slash the weekly benefit from $600 to $100 or $200 per week.
The relief package will also reportedly include millions of dollars in state and local aid, including $105 billion to open schools and $15 billion for child care centers. These figures include $70 billion for K-12 schools to reopen, $30 billion for colleges and universities, and $5 billion for governors to spend at their discretion. The number is a far cry from the $1 trillion Democrats are seeking in state and local aid. Other measures likely to be included in the bill include an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is scheduled to expire on August 8, $25 billion for coronavirus testing and contract tracing, and liability protections for business, hospitals, and school.
The bill will likely not, however, include student loan forgiveness, which Democrats have argued. It will also probably exclude a payroll tax cut, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin telling CNN when asked if it will be included in the package, "not in this." He suggested that there could possibly be a "CARES 5.0" that would consist of a payroll tax cut.
With Congress set to enter another recess following Friday, Aug. 7, and much of the package likely to prove controversial among Democrats, the legislation will likely face an uphill battle in passing. In fact, it may even face scrutiny from President Donald Trump, who stated earlier this week that he would consider not signing any legislation that did not include a payroll tax cut.