Senate Republicans and Democrats plan to work over the weekend to try to iron out differences over the so-called “phase three” of coronavirus stimulus legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act on Thursday, which calls for $1,200 direct payments to most individuals and an additional $500 per child.
Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people to help during this uniquely uncertain time. No tangled Washington process. No piles of forms for laid-off workers or families to fill out.
Money for people. From the middle class on down. Period. pic.twitter.com/cA2PKhmO80
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 19, 2020
On the lower end of the scale, people who earned at least $2,500 in 2018 would get a minimum of $600.
The amount goes higher the more you earn, which would be a means for compensating part-time workers.
The CARES Act would deliver direct financial help. Senate Republicans want to put cash in Americans’ hands.
No tangled Washington process. No piles of forms for laid-off workers or families to fill out.
Money for hardworking families. From the middle class on down. Period. pic.twitter.com/kBXeAirqxr
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 20, 2020
Senate Democrats are pushing for expanded unemployment benefits in lieu of the direct payments to middle- and lower-income Americans.
“There are many, many who have lost their jobs and one check when they may be out of their jobs for three, four, five months isn’t going to be enough. Unemployment insurance gives money the whole period of time the crisis exists at your present salary level and covers just about everyone,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
He is calling for unemployment benefits to equal the pay people were receiving before they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis:
Sen. Chuck Schumer: “Every worker who is unemployed [should get] a paycheck equal to what they were earning before this crisis paid for by the federal government.” https://t.co/lBp20MF1dh pic.twitter.com/aJbYRi61hL
— The Hill (@thehill) March 20, 2020
The size of weekly unemployment benefits varies from state-to-state, based on one’s income, but typically ranges between $300 and $700 per week.
Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who has been involved in the Senate negotiations, argued that increasing unemployment benefits would be better than direct payments.
“In the Republican package there was nothing on unemployment insurance,” Stabenow said. “We are not in any way seeing yet the focus enough on workers, on the workforce, on people getting hit the hardest.”
According to The Hill, GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky have voiced support for aid to Americans coming through unemployment benefits rather than direct payments.
“I’d rather take that $250 billion and put it in a system that will give people sustainable income,” Graham said Thursday. “Direct payments make sense when the economy is beginning to restart, makes no sense now because it’s just money.”
“What I want is income, not one check. I want you to get a check you can count on every week, not one week,” he added. “Here’s what I’m focused on: You have unemployment insurance that is totally inadequate, let’s beef it up.”
McConnell needs 60 votes to move forward on legislation, which will require at least some Democratic support.
Republican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Cory Gardner of Colorado are currently self-quarantining after coming in contact with people who tested positive for the coronavirus, meaning the GOP has 51 lawmakers in the chamber who could vote.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Thursday the Trump administration is supporting a $1 trillion coronavirus response package that includes up to $2,000 being sent to American adults and $1,000 per child.
Mnuchin explained on Fox Business Network the cash would go out in two phases, with $1,000 per adult and $500 per child being sent out in a matter of weeks.
A family of four, including two parents and two children, would thus get $3,000 right off the bat.
“As soon as Congress passes this we’d get this out in three weeks, and then six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we’ll deliver another $3,000,” Mnuchin said.
The two payments would total $250 billion each.
Additionally, the administration’s plan includes $300 billion to assist small businesses to keep people employed and $200 billion in aid to industries most impacted by the coronavirus, including the nation’s airlines.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.