Republicans Release $1 Trillion Plan for Next Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Package

Jul 31, 2020

by ASME.org

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has released $1 trillion coronavirus relief stimulus plan that will be used as the baseline for negotiations with Democrats, who passed their own $3 trillion plan in the House in May. The Republican plan includes $105 billion to help aid schools in their reopening, and also includes $16 billion in grants to states for expanded virus testing, but no additional aid to states beyond that. States have been quick to respond to the Senate’s proposed plan siting that they are facing drastic spending cuts that will jeopardize the nation’s recovery if they do not receive direct funding. In the stimulus package passed by the House in May, Democrats included $1 trillion specifically for state and local governments, so there will be hard fought negotiations on this issue in the coming weeks.
 
Time is of the essence as Republicans and Democrats meet to develop a compromise package. Unemployment aid and moratorium on evictions passed in March will be soon run out, and while the Republican plan does extend supplemental unemployment benefits, it is at a far lower level. The Republican plan does provide for an additional round of direct payments, but seeks to restructure unemployment benefits. The proposed transition intends to provide benefits that will match roughly 70% of the unemployed individuals former wage and would give states 2 months to get the data needed to make the switch to a scaled unemployment aid distribution. During those 2 months, the $600 weekly paycheck unemployed individuals now see will dip to $200, and once scaled distribution is in place the federal unemployment contribution would be capped at $500 per week.
 
The bill would authorize $1 billion annually from fiscal 2021 through 2030 to support state stockpiles of medical products and supplies for public health emergencies. Further, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could only buy personal protective equipment, sanitizing supplies, and other medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile that are grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the U.S. There would be exceptions if the item isn’t available or if the purchase is for $150,000 or less.
 
In releasing this bill, Majority Leader McConnell was acutely aware that it would be the starting point for Republicans during negotiations. We will continue to track the development of the next coronavirus relief package and will provide updates on negotiations as they continue.

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