Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally unveiled the new stimulus bill on September 8, but it is not what everyone is hoping for.
After months of negotiations over the next coronavirus aid package, the Congress introduced a trimmed-down bill.
No more checks
The new bill introduced by the GOP includes a $300 federal boost for unemployment benefits. It also includes relief for small businesses, but it does not have the $1,200 check that was previously given. There is also new funding for cash-strapped states, which Democrats support.
The legislation could face a procedural vote as soon as September 3 but has little chance of ever becoming law.
There are still several Republicans threatening to vote against the new proposal, and it is unlikely to gain any support from Democrats, who want to go for a larger package of $3 trillion, according to CNN.
Here are the points that make the new bill different:
For the GOP skinny bill it would offer federal unemployment benefits of $300 through the week ending December 27, 2020, which is half of what Congress included in its March coronavirus relief package.
The payments would be retroactive to the end of July, that was when the original $600 weekly supplement expired.
If the new bill gets approved, the $300 benefit would be in addition to the $300 weekly payment authorized by President Donald Trump.
However, President Trump's benefit is being paid out of federal disaster relief funds and is only expected to last five weeks or so. Not everyone currently receiving unemployment benefits is eligible for Trump's payment.
Money for small businesses
In the GOP skinny bill it would allow some small businesses to apply for a second loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.
The program is for businesses with less than 300 employees and has seen a drop of at least 35% of their revenue during the first quarter or second quarter of 2020.
The GOP skinny bill, $105 billion, will be provided for education, about two-thirds of which would be reserved for schools that reopen for in-person instruction.
Postal Service funding
The GOP skinny bill would forgive a $10 billion loan to the US Postal Service under the March CARES Act; the more than $2 trillion relief package passed earlier this year. USPS would have to meet certain criteria to have the loan forgiven.
Liability protections for employers
In the GOP skinny bill, protections for employers against liability in any coronavirus-related lawsuits brought by workers will be given. Employers will not be held liable unless the claim of the worker met a stringent test.
According to the new bill, they must give clear and convincing evidence that the employer was not making reasonable efforts to comply with the latest safety guidelines and standards brought by the pandemic.
They should also prove that the employer was negligent or did something that caused exposure to the virus and that the exposure caused personal injury to the worker.
Liability protection for health care workers and facilities
In the GOP skinny bill it would protect health care providers from coronavirus-related liability actions unless the plaintiffs can give gross negligence or willful misconduct. Staffing shortages or resource shortages are not considered willful misconduct or gross negligence.
Also, the new bill does not include money for the second round of direct stimulus checks to Americans, and it would not give additional assistance to state and local governments.
The skinny bill does extend the time that local and state governments can use the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund money provided in the coronavirus package Congress passed in March 2020. The new date set is on September 30, 2021.
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