Better Than Nothing: Scaled Back Stimulus Package Unveiled
Yesterday, Democrats unveiled a scaled-down $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. This seems to be a last attempt to get Republican negotiators back to the table to strike a deal before the election. This pared-down Heroes Act is $1.2 trillion less than the original bill passed by the House last spring.
Show Me The Money
This scaled-back stimulus bill includes $436 billion in emergency aid for state and local governments; $225 billion for schools and child care; an additional round of $1,200 stimulus checks for most Americans; money to restore $600 expanded unemployment payments through January 2021 and $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and other health care efforts. It also contains billions for housing assistance; and funding to shore up the census, U.S. Postal Service, and elections.
A key provision backed by President Trump aimed at saving jobs is included in the Democrat’s proposed relief package. That provision is $25 billion to avoid thousands of layoffs at passenger airlines, as well as $3 billion for airline contractors. The limping restaurant industry would receive $120 billion in aid under this plan.
Let’s Make A Deal?
While a step in the right direction, this is far from being a “done deal”. However, it is promising to see that Democrats are actively working to get a deal made. This new package was introduced minutes before Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the top White House negotiator with both agreeing to speak again today.
Democrats who face re-elections have been pressing Pelosi to conduct another vote on a COVID-19 package to show constituents they are working to get more relief. While Pelosi had been resistant to holding another vote, she did a reverse course in directing her committee chairmen to begin drafting this new version of the bill.