McConnell introduces third coronavirus relief proposal

House Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus

© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans have reached a deal among themselves on legislation for the third coronavirus funding package amid growing concerns about a widespread outbreak in the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the agreement on the Senate floor, noting that Republicans would begin negotiating with Democrats on Friday.

Sixty votes would be needed to pass a coronavirus bill, meaning it will have to be bipartisan.

The nearly 250-page bill includes direct financial help for Americans, relief for small businesses, help for impacted industries like airlines and efforts to bolster the health care system. The Hill’s Jordain Carney breaks it down here.

  • Among the direct help for individuals is $1,200 for individuals who make up to $75,000. The caps would be doubled for married filers. It also includes an additional $500 for a child.
  • The bill would delay the deadline to file 2019 taxes from April 15 to July 15, and includes other tax relief measures for businesses.
  • The bill includes $208 billion in loans for major industries that have been impacted by the coronavirus, and gives the Treasury secretary the ability to take an equity stake in businesses for the federal government. President Trump voiced support for the idea, used after the 2008 bank bailout, in a Thursday press conference.
  • The measure also offers $300 billion in loans with 100-percent federal guarantees to small employers who keep their workers on payroll during the crisis. If small business owners avoid laying off workers, the loans would be 100-percent forgiven.
  • The bill orders the Education Department to delay payments on federal student loans for three months and gives the Secretary of Education the ability to extend the payment suspension period for another three months.

 

Democrats think bigger, seek less help for businesses:

  • The strong tilt toward helping businesses will likely irritate Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) who says the stimulus should focus on revamping the nation’s health care system and workers directly affected by an economic downturn.
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, said “Republicans seem to be prioritizing the corporate tax wish list over the economic well-being of people who are losing their livelihoods at this very moment.”

House Democrats are also seeking a far bigger plan than what’s been proposed by Senate Republicans.

On a Thursday conference call featuring more than 200 members of the House Democratic caucus, lawmakers one by one laid out a sweeping wish list of provisions they want to see included in the nascent package, including:

  • A boost in infrastructure spending,
  • An expansion of Social Security benefits,
  • And funding for states to set up an all-mail voting system in the event the pandemic extends into November’s elections.

The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong read us out on the call here.

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