Bipartisan coronavirus aid bill includes $ 300 per week for unemployed and student loan extensions, eviction assistance


An attempt by a group of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress to assemble a coronavirus aid package would extend and revive some of the most popular provisions of the CARES Act from March – to one big exception.

“We have your gift. Take it, ”said Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, touting the group’s legislation to party leaders as something that could be passed quickly in the Senate this week.

“It would be like Scrooge if we went and left people on Boxing Day to lose their unemployment, or the day after New Years to lose their apartment,” said Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia. In addition to the 11 senators at Monday’s unveiling, the package is supported by the co-chairs of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, an equally divided group of Democratic and Republican MPs.
The group unveiled its plan in two separate bills – a more than 600-page, $ 748 billion bill that the group said included emergency articles supported unanimously, and a bill smaller and separate $ 160 billion to provide money to state, local and tribal governments. and coronavirus legal liability protections for businesses and nonprofits. The latter bill was widely supported by Republicans in the group but not by its Democrats.

The main bill would revive many of the most popular CARES law provisions by $ 1.7 trillion starting in March, but only briefly and often in a lean fashion.

Unemployment assistance would be extended for an additional 16 weeks, with an additional federal payment on top of the state’s jobless checks reset to $ 300 per week, down from CARES ‘level of $ 600. Forbearance on student loans would be extended until April 1, while a moratorium on evictions would be extended until January 31.

The politically popular paycheck protection program to give money to small businesses would be revived with $ 300 billion made available to establishments for second aid. The loan cancellation process for loans of $ 150,000 or less would be simplified.

The bill would also provide $ 45 billion for emergency transportation funding, including assistance to airlines, airports, buses, Amtrak and transit. Another $ 82 billion would go to education, with $ 54 billion for K-12 schools and $ 20 billion for higher education.

But the bill leaves out perhaps the most popular element of the CARES Act – another round of direct checks to Americans similar to the $ 1,200 in the spring. This idea was pushed last week by a strange ideological couple, Liberal Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders and Republican Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley.

If state and local party and liability protections were enforced, which seemed unlikely given Democratic opposition to the liability party, the entire proposal would cost around $ 908 billion.

Lawmakers face a narrowing window for action. Many want to marry a coronavirus aid bill with an emerging government funding deal that must be voted on by Friday to keep government open. The head of the Senate Appropriations Committee said on Monday evening that he expected the bill to be tabled soon, possibly as early as Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also expressed a sense of finality. In his opening speech in the Senate, McConnell said: “The next few days are going to bring one of two outcomes – 100 Senators will be here shaking their heads, throwing blame and offering an apology as to why we don’t. ‘ve still not been able to make a law. Or we’ll take a break for the holidays after sending another huge dose of relief to those in need.

“It depends on us. We decide, ”he says.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, said he was encouraged by what was in the bipartisan bill, although he said that would not be what will ultimately pass.

“A lot of these things have good things to include in the year-end spending bill,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I don’t think they ever, the bipartisan group, hoped that their bill would become the bill that we actually passed, but I think it has a significant and positive influence on what will ultimately be. included.

Late in the day, during a reading of a 22-minute conversation between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the issue of state and local aid resurfaced, a Pelosi, in a tweet, said she reiterated her concerns about accountability as “a barrier to securing public and local funding.”


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