After several days of delay and grappling to agree with the White House, Senate Republicans are ready to release their coronavirus relief package worth $1 trillion. The package includes an answer to the expiring unemployment benefits, which would be extended but reduced.
The $1 trillion proposal by the GOP includes $16 billion new money allocated for testing, $105 billion for school re-openings, incentives for employers to retain and rehire employees, and the most awaited second round of direct payments.
Moreover, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also stated that the package would also include liability protections for non-profits, hospitals, schools, businesses.
Aside from those, the package also included a plan for the jobless benefit that id set to expire on Friday. On the proposal, it was stated that the $400 would be slashed from the $600 weekly benefit, which means that those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic will now only be receiving $200 weekly. This is also to prepare as the states enter the transition period in implementing the system which would provide the unemployed with 70% of their wage replacement.
On the other hand, while the unemployment benefit has been a topic for discussion in the past week, the federal eviction moratorium that has already expired did not get much attention. However, Larry Kudlow, the economic adviser of the White House and also the director of the National Economic Council, told CNN that the eviction moratorium will be lengthened.
Meanwhile, both Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared in news programs on Sunday to float and discuss the ideas of moving forward initially with a narrower set of issues such as the unemployment benefit. This means that they want to pass a bill to extend the jobless benefit in order to prioritize it and extend discussion on other provisions of the relief package in later legislation.
The stand of the Democrats
However, the plan of the Republicans does not sit well with the democrats According to Hose Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats will not be settling for a piece by piece legislation of the relief aid. She also emphasized that the aid should be in the form of a package and not a piecemeal.
Pelosi also pointed out that like the previous CARES Act of $2.2 trillion, the pieces of the legislation are interconnected and cannot be passed on separately. She also added that the unemployment benefits are tied in with the direct payments, which would help bolster the loan program for small businesses. In turn, the loan program is also connected to the incentives for employers to rehire and retain their workers.
But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also clarified that the Democrats are not insisting that the unemployment benefit of $600 be included in the relief package that is being negotiated, The Hill reported. He stated that while they are opposed to the $200 value that was presented by the Republicans they are willing to negotiate the amount.