After months of speculation regarding the topic, lawmakers are finally trying to hammer out details of their next stimulus package. While nothing is official just yet, Senate Republicans introduced their stimulus proposal on July 27. Even though there will likely be some changes to the plan before it does garner enough support to pass, their proposal does offer up several different benefits for Americans still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
It's been quite some time since Congress enacted its first stimulus package amidst this pandemic. In March, the White House and Congress agreed to their historic $2 trillion stimulus package, the CARES Act. Under the CARES Act, eligible Americans were entitled to receive a one-time, $1,200 check to help them navigate any challenges associated with the health crisis. Since they released that package over four months ago, there has been a lot of talk regarding a possible second stimulus package.
Clearly, another stimulus plan is indeed on the horizon. That plan could look very similar to the one that Senate Republicans recently shared. So, what exactly would the HEALS Act entail for recipients?
Like the CARES Act, the HEALS Act would provide eligible Americans with a one-time $1,200 check. This payment is not taxable, meaning that you can use it however you wish.prevnext
The CARES Act provided for an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits. But, the HEALS Act aims to reduce that figure to $200 per week through September and then a transition to 70% of working wages that would have been lost. This aspect of the HEALS Act has been one of the biggest points of contention between Republicans and Democrats. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even criticized this figure, telling reporters on Friday, "Republicans in the Senate came back with a piecemeal approach. Clearly, they and perhaps the White House do not understand the gravity of the situation. This is a freight train that is picking up steam." She added, "They [Republicans] resent America's working families, getting the $600, which is essential to their needs. So they've offered $200."prevnext
Payroll Protection Program
The payroll protection program would provide forgivable loans to small businesses in order to incentivize them to keep employees on their payroll, per CNET. This would help fund employed individuals who would have otherwise lost their jobs amidst this pandemic.prevnext
Employee Retention Tax Credit
In a similar manner to the payroll protection program, the employee retention tax credit allows employers to receive refundable tax credits for wages that they would pay to their employees during this health crisis. While you wouldn't be receiving an outright payment, this tax credit does help businesses keep workers on their payroll and, thus, benefits the workforce.prevnext
A return-to-work payment was proposed by Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio. This bonus, if it does manage to pass, would offer a temporary weekly bonus of $450 which could help encourage individuals to return to the workforce.prevnext
If you qualify for it, a rental assistance program would help you pay rent, put a hold on evictions for a year, and help cover the costs of rental property owners if they encounter rental payment shortfalls. This provision was not included in Senate Republicans' recent plan. However, CNET reported that President Donald Trump has said that eviction protections will be a part of the next stimulus package.prevnext
Payroll Tax Cut
A payroll tax cut would help workers keep more of their earnings for each check. Now, it should be noted that a payroll tax cut has not been officially included in Senate Republicans' recently-unveiled plan. Although, over the past several months, Trump has voiced his support for enacting a temporary payroll tax cut for Americans in order to help give a boost to the economy. Given that a second stimulus package is not set in stone just yet, there is still a chance that a payroll tax cut could be included in the next plan.prev