Parties Inch Towards More Relief

The White House and congressional Republicans have yet to officially release their opening bid for the next round of coronavirus relief legislation. But reports indicate the $1 trillion proposal should surface by next week.  

And with enhanced unemployment checks and eviction protections expiring— not to mention the Senate recess starting August 10— the pressure is on to make a deal.   

Here’s where the two sides stand on some key issues based on latest reporting:

  • Individual Rebate Checks
    • Democrats propose another round of checks under CARES Act terms and conditions.
    • The Republican position remains unclear. Earlier this month Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floated maintaining the payment level but lowering the qualifying income level. Today Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared to indicate the administration supports the Democrats’ proposal.
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance
    • Democrats propose extending the current $600/week payment through January 2021.  
    • Republicans could extend these payments at a lower weekly rate.
  • Payments to State and Local Governments
    • Democrats proposed $540 billion for states and $375 billion for local governments.
    • Republicans may propose giving governments additional flexibility to spend the $150 billion they were previously provided.
  • Education 
    • With cases skyrocketing while President Trump insists schools re-open, Democrats have upped their request to over $300 from $100 billion in May.
    • Reports indicate the Republicans are proposing $105 billion, including $30 billion available only to schools that reopen.
  • Health Care
    • Democrats proposed $100 billion to reimburse hospitals and health care providers, $80 billion for COVID testing and vaccine development and a $500 tax deduction to first responders and frontline workers.
    • Reports indicate Republicans have proposed $66 billion for testing, vaccine research, and NIH research and $25 billion for hospitals and providers.
  • Liability Protection
    • Democrats’ bill did not contain liability provisions.
    • Republicans may propose giving federal courts jurisdiction over coronavirus liability claims filed from December 2019 through 2024. Defendants would only be found liable if they did not make reasonable efforts to comply with public health guidelines.