Today should bring a major update on coronavirus stimulus checks. Senate Republicans have finally reached an agreement on the next stimulus package, which is said to contain a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, among other measures.
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Sen. Mitch McConnell reportedly plans to introduce their stimulus package in pieces based on jurisdiction, according to Sen. Roy Blunt. From there, the GOP will start to negotiate with Democrats.
Since Republicans and Democrats both support a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, today’s update on the GOP’s proposal will likely be just the first step in getting the measure passed. One thing we still don’t know is how much the second round of checks might be or who might be eligible to receive a second check.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously said he felt like those earning $40,000 or less were the hardest hit by the pandemic. That triggered widespread speculations that the income cap for the second round of stimulus checks would be $40,000.
Today’s update on coronavirus stimulus checks should at least provide details on the place where Republicans are starting the negotiations. It doesn’t mean that the eligibility details they have selected will be the final eligibility rules used in the bill. Republicans will likely have to compromise in negotiations with Democrats, so those eligibility rules will probably be changed a bit from their starting point.
Here’s what else is in the GOP’s stimulus package
Beyond an update on coronavirus stimulus checks, we now know that the GOP’s bill contains funding for schools. According to CNN, the bill sets aside $105 billion for schools, including $70 billion for K-12 schools, $30 billion for colleges and universities, and another $5 billion that governors can use at their discretion.
Of the $70 billion earmarked for K-12 schools, $35 billion would go to schools on a per capita basis, while the rest would be aimed at the costs associated with reopening schools. The bill contains requirements for schools to qualify for the second set of funds, although governors would be able to make most of the decisions about how to handle funding for their state’s schools.
The GOP’s proposal also includes $25 billion for COVID-19 testing. That includes $16 billion in new funds and a commitment to designate the other $9 billion in funds. No decisions have been made on what to do about the payroll tax cut President Donald Trump wants.
Unemployment also remains up for debate. The extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits expires at the end of the month. Democrats want to extend it, but if unemployment is included in the package, Republicans are likely to reduce the amount of the extra weekly benefit.
Most people who are on unemployment have received more money while out of work than they did while on the job. Republicans are concerned that this creates an incentive for people to stay off the job for as long as possible, making it difficult for small businesses to reopen because they won’t be able to get people to return to work.
Sources told CNN that the GOP’s proposal extends the extra federal unemployment benefit by two months at a flat rate. However, it does not say the amount of the flat rate.