Democrats unveiled their latest relief package Monday night ahead of renewed negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America's working families right now," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Monday.
The new package, which is being referred to as the updated HEROES Act, proposes to restore popular assistance programs such as the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit boost and another round of stimulus payments.
Yet to trim the legislation cost from the proposed $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion, Democrats cut funding for state, local and tribal government support, as well as reduced funding to the U.S. Postal Service. Other areas saw a slight expansion, including child care and education funding.
Here's a look at some of the major proposals included in the updated HEROES Act.
The updated HEROES Act provides another round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 to individuals earning an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 and $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000, as well as an additional $500 per dependent, which includes full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents.
$600 enhanced unemployment benefits
The new legislation restores the $600 weekly enhanced federal unemployment payments through January 2021. Democrats also aim to provide a transition period at the end of January 2021 to prevent unemployment benefits from abruptly ending before March 31.
The bill also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which specifically covers business owners, self-employed Americans, gig workers and independent contractors who are not typically eligible for unemployment, through January 2021.
Democrats are proposing a new program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Extension Compensation, which would provide up to 13 additional weeks of federally financed unemployment benefits to any individual who exhausts state or federal unemployment benefits before January 31, 2021.
The bill also earmarks $925 million to assist states in processing unemployment insurance claims.
To help "keep over 2.2 million families stably housed," Democrats earmarked $4 billion to public housing agencies (PHAs), including $1 billion for vouchers for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, as well as anyone who may be fleeing domestic violence.
The legislation allocates $5 billion for homeless assistance grants and $50 billion to provide emergency assistance to low-income renters who may be at risk of homelessness due to eviction. It also gives $100 million to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks) to support housing counselors in providing increased services, including foreclosure and eviction mitigation counseling.
Child care and education
Democrats earmarked $225 billion for education in the latest relief package. A large part of that funding includes $182 billion for K-12 schools and $39 billion for higher education, including colleges and universities. Unlike the Republican bill proposed in July, this funding is not tied to whether or not a school chooses to reopen in-person.
Additionally, the bill would provide $57 billion to support child care for families, a significant increase from the $7 billion that the previous HEROES Act provided and the $15 billion the Republican-led package proposed.
Democrats are also proposing to extend the suspension of federal student loan payments through September 2021. No interest would accrue on these loans until September 2021 as well. Additionally, Democrats want to expand the pool of eligible student loans to include direct loans, department and commercially held Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), department and institutionally held Perkins loans and Health and Human Services (HHS) student loans.
Paycheck Protection Program
Democrats have proposed more funding and modifications the Paycheck Protection Program to better service a wider range of small organizations, including allowing hard-hit businesses to apply for a second loan and creating a more streamlined application and forgiveness process.
Specifically, the legislation proposes to set aside funds for businesses with less than 10 employees, sole proprietors, the self-employed and nonprofits.
Worker protections and job security
Democrats included provisions in the new bill that require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a "strong, enforceable standard" and require all workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC expertise, according to the one-page brief that lead author of the bill, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), released.
Democrats have also included proposed protections that stop Americans from losing health insurance if they're laid off. Instead, unemployed Americans will be able to get access to subsidies for health care through the insurance marketplaces, as well as a special enrollment period. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that up to 12 million Americans may have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance.
Democrats are also proposing to extend paid sick and family leave, enacted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, through the end of February 2021. Employees employed by companies with less than 500 employees are generally eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave under the program, but it also provides benefits to parents who are unable to secure child care.
The bill also aims to provide relief to several hard-hit industries, including airlines and restaurants. The bill gives $25 billion to U.S. airlines to help those corporations avoid layoffs, with another $3 billion earmarked for independent contractors who service the airlines. The bill also allocates $120 billion in aid to the restaurant industry.
The updated HEROES Act allocated $10 billion to support a 15% increase to the maximum benefits for those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through September 2021. The bill also provides more than $500 million for additional funding for nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
Check out: We analyzed 111 rewards cards, and the best one could earn you $2,000 over 5 years
Don't miss: A guide to resources that can help you pay bills now, from rent to health care
Source: Read Full Article