The House Democrats have unveiled a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in a push to break the impasse on relief negotiations before the election. However, the bill is likely to face opposition by Senate Republicans.
According to The Daily Mail, US Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, and the GOP are open for talks on the new $2.2 trillion Covid-19 package. This comes after the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said that a deal can be reached with the White House on the novel coronavirus relief package and that talks were underway.
"We are having our conversations. And when I have a conversation with the administration, it is in good faith. I trust (Treasury) Secretary (Steve) Mnuchin to represent something that can reach a solution. And I believe we can come to an agreement," Pelosi said on CNN.
The recently released package includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, $600 in extra unemployment, and $225 billion for schools. This package is a scaled-down version of the earlier one. It shows a cutback from the earlier $3.4 billion bill that passed the House of Democrats in May but was later opposed by Senate Republicans. However, the scaled-down new package remains well above what the Senate Republicans had been willing to accept which was a $650 billion to $1 trillion range relief package.
The newly-unveiled package offers a second stimulus check and calls for a proposal for another round of direct payments to Americans that amounts to $1,200 for qualifying taxpayers and $500 per dependent. The relief bill also provides for extra federal unemployment benefits, under which, the package would restore the $600 federal unemployment booster that expired at the end of July in 2020. The relief package would further continue the extra federal payments until the end of January 2021.
The relief bill has kept an amount of $436 billion to provide one year's worth of assistance to state, local, territorial and tribal governments who are in urgent need of funds to pay frontline workers like frontline and health workers who keep the society safe in the ongoing health crisis but are in danger of losing their jobs. The package will also support small businesses which are among the worst-hit by the pandemic. It will help small businesses by improving the Paycheck Protection Program and by providing them with loans. It will also deliver targeted assistance to the struggling restaurant industry and independent live venue operators.
Education and Child Care
Apart from all these benefits, funds are also devoted to augmenting education and child care. The relief bill offers $225 billion for education and $57 billion to support child care for families. Additional items in the new package include funding for election security, the US Postal Service, worker safety, food security, Covid-19 testing, treatment, and helping airline industry workers.
After it was announced that the talks are going on the new $2.2 trillion package, many took to Twitter to weigh in on the news. While some praised the relief package, others wanted GOP to quickly arrive on the table with Democrats.
A user expressing gratitude over the relief package, wrote: "I say, thank you so much! Because the stimulus package is a great help for people that right now have unemployment, and lot jobs now is out for the COVID 19. I know that President Trump is making great work!"
Others lashed out at President Donald Trump for his alleged tax fraud, saying that if he had paid his taxes then the current Covid-19 proposed package would not have been reduced. "If Donald Trump paid his taxes the second stimulus package could've been paid for! The GOP graveled over $600 for people who are unemployed and lost their jobs, essential workers, and families affected by Covid, unbelievable."
While some demanded US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to urge GOP leaders to agree on the package. "Get your GOP side to come to the table with Dems on a stimulus package or we will remember in November. You need to stop screwing around with our lives!"
Another one, echoing similar sentiments, tweeted, "GET THIS DONE! Steve Mnuchin and the GOP say they are open to talks on the Democrats' new $2.2trillion COVID package that includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, $600 in extra unemployment and $225billion for schools."
Another person wrote, "BREAKING: Democrats release new $2.2trillion COVID package. US Secretary of the Treasury @stevenmnuchin1 Should Disclose where the 551 Billion Dollars of Missing COVID19 Aid Money Is!!!??? The Entire Trump Administration to GITMO."
Senate Democrats had blocked Senate Republicans' smaller $300 billion package in early September calling it a "skinny" relief bill and leaving both sides at an impasse in negotiations.