(CBS Detroit) — A second stimulus bill is still a possibility, even with time running short before the election. On Monday of this week, House Democrats unveiled a revised stimulus bill that would ease many of the challenges struggling Americans are facing during the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the proposals are familiar, including another round of $1200 stimulus payments and an additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government.
The updated Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act) is a slimmed down version of the original version passed by the House of Representatives back in May. That package languished in the Senate due to the $3.4 trillion price tag. This version would cost $2.2 trillion, but include some of the same features. The House passed the revised bill on Thursday.
What is in the revised HEROES Act that Democrats have passed?
$1200 Stimulus Payment to Consumers
Individual taxpayers with an annual adjusted gross income (AGI) up to $75,000 would receive a $1,200 stimulus payment. That number would decrease as AGI approaches $99,000. The same formula would apply to married taxpayers, who would receive $2,400 for an AGI up to $150,000. That amount would fall toward zero as AGI approaches $198,000.
The updated HEROES Act changes how dependents are addressed. Previously, all adult dependents were ineligible for the payment. This package would issue $500 payments to each dependent regardless of age.
$600 Additional Weekly Unemployment Benefits
The updated HEROES Act would also revive the $600 in additional unemployment payments issued weekly by the federal government through the CARES Act. Those payments ran out at the end of July. The new round of additional unemployment payments would retroactively begin September 6 and run through the end of January 2021.
The unemployed in some states are currently receiving an additional $300 per week through the Lost Wages Assistance program. Though those payouts cap out at six weeks, and many states have already run out of funds.
$436 Billion of Emergency Aid for State and Local Governments
With a sharp reduction in tax revenue, as a result of declining economic activity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, many state and local governments face huge budget shortfalls. This $436 billion would provide one year of assistance in balancing their budgets (which many have to do by law) and avoiding layoffs and cuts in local services.
$225 Billion for Education
With the logistical complications of educating and caring for children during a pandemic, these funds include $182 billion to support K-12 schools and $57 billion more to help families in need of childcare.
$75 billion for COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing
This funding is meant to address some of the disparities that communities of color face when dealing with coronavirus treatment.
$120 Billion in Aid for Small Businesses
This funding is meant to directly assist small businesses, including restaurants, by improving the Paycheck Protection Program.
The odds are low that something will get completed before the election. But while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are negotiating in earnest, hope is still alive. The two spoke Monday evening after the revised HEROES Act was released and then again Tuesday morning. Another meeting happened Wednesday, where Mnuchin proposed a $1.5 trillion cost, after which Democrats delayed a vote on their $2.2 trillion package to allow more time for negotiation. They eventually passed their $2.2 trillion version on Thursday.
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, has made it clear that any legislation worth more than $2 trillion would not receive his support. Democrats and the Trump administration still fundamentally disagree on funding for state and local governments. Pelosi and Mnuchin remain far apart on a child tax credit but a little closer on health care provisions and small business assistance.
It’s not clear now how recent news of President Trump testing positive for COVID-19 will affect the outcome of stimulus negotiations. But with House members itching to return to their districts to campaign, the window for getting a deal done is closing fast.