As the Senate starts to discuss the details of a new economic relief bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has revealed some of the details that the Republicans want in it. These details are what the Republicans will introduce to the floor for discussion, but the final details have yet to be worked out.
During the preparation of this Republican part of the bill, the Senate leaders met with White House Staff and with the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. This meeting was used to make sure that the bill was in line with President Trump to help ensure that it will be signed when it comes to his desk.
The bill focuses on several main issues, including jobs and unemployment, children in school, health care, and protecting employers from liability claims. The bill is meant to provide the economy with another strong boost and is expected to start around $1 trillion in value.
Both sides see the importance of opening schools in the fall but they also realize that many schools do not have the money to make the necessary improvisations to ensure the teachers’ and students’ safety. They are also afraid of potential lawsuits – which they cannot afford – if teachers or parents sue because someone becomes infected with the coronavirus. The bill is expected to provide some kind of protection for schools, businesses, government agencies, and hospitals with a five-year shield from all lawsuits over the coronavirus – except in cases of extreme negligence.
Funds will also be provided to help fast-track a new coronavirus vaccine. This is a key issue since the virus is what has caused so much trouble in the economy and things are not looking much better as it continues to spread rapidly.
Personal stimulus checks are another matter that will need to be discussed. The Republicans have not made up their mind to include it in the bill or not. They have indicated that they believe that many people put the money into savings, but the purpose was to inject the money into the economy. If it is included, a personal check may only be given to those who make $40,000 or less. The Democrats would like to see another $1,200 check given to those making under $75,000 (as before), but it is uncertain if it will be included at all.
President Trump has been saying for some time that he would strongly like to see a payroll tax cut added to the package. McConnell did not mention it when he talked about the Republican’s plan, but it still may end up being in the final bill.
Congress is in session until July 7 and then will go on another break. Both sides want a bill to be passed before the end of July, which is when the extra $600 per month for unemployment ends. Whether or not it is continued in some form is up in the air. The Democrats want the same benefits to continue but the Republicans are talking about possibly ending it.
Although McConnell stated that he does not believe that the bill contains anything the Democrats would disagree with, the Democrats have said that $1 trillion is not near enough to meet the needs for relief where it is needed. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats passed a bill in May for the next stimulus package that involved more than $3 trillion. This difference in value and where funds should be allocated is surely going to lead to some heated debates between now and the end of July.