Second Stimulus Checks: Democrats' Plans Includes Hazard Pay for Essential Workers

There has been a lot of discussion about a second round of coronavirus relief stimulus checks, and now Democrat lawmakers plan to include hazard pay for essential workers in the prospective follow-up bill. According to ABC 13, the Democrat-controlled House has revealed a new $3 trillion-plus bill for coronavirus relief. It is expected that the measure will be passed in the House on Friday.

Among the provisions in the bill is a $200 billion "heroes fund." This is supplemental "hazard pay" for essential workers. In this case, essential workers are defined as first responders, health care workers, sanitation workers, and employees of businesses that have been required to remain open during the pandemic. Notably, while the House has plans to pass the bill this week, the Senate likely will wait until the end of May. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly stated there is no "urgency" on the Senate's part. They will likely be waiting until after Memorial Day to take a vote.

The new bill is called the "Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act," or the HEROES Act. In addition to the "hazard pay" provision, the it would also increase the amount of money provided to taxpaying Americans who fall into lower to middle income brackets. It would provide payments of $1,200 per individual, with up to $6,000 for a household. The new bill would also extends a $600 per week federal unemployment benefit supplemental payment through January, 2021. This is currently scheduled to end before August.

On thing that President Trump has been pushing for in a second stimulus bill, is Payroll Tax Cuts. "I told Steve [Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary] just today, we’re not doing anything unless we get a payroll tax cut," Trump said during previous Fox News town hall. "That is so important to the success of our country." Notably, Payroll taxes include Social Security and Medicare, from employees and employers. A payroll tax cut would take less money from workers and businesses. However, some are not keen on this idea.

Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst for the Tax Foundation, is an opponent of the payroll tax cut, explaining that he does not see how it would benefit anyone at the point. "When you do a temporary tax cut like what the White House is proposing, the literature generally finds there isn't a big effect on employment levels," Watson said. "If you look at the 2009, 2 percentage points payroll tax cut under the Obama administration, the evidence bears out that most of that federal tax cut was saved by consumers."