Unemployment assistance, eviction protections, and other relief for millions of Americans are at stake as White House officials launch negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a new coronavirus aid package that's teetering in Congress ahead of looming deadlines. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, flanked by top GOP lawmakers Monday at the Capitol, unveiled his long-awaited proposal. Some key parts, per the AP:
- It would provide another round of $1,200 direct payments based on the same formula from the earlier aid bill. People making $75,000 or less would receive the full amount, with the benefit phased out for those earning above $99,000, or double for married couples filing joint taxes.
- It would reduce the $600 weekly jobless benefit to $200 for two months through September. (This is the federal benefit bestowed in addition to state benefits.) Then the aid would be phased out to a new benefit that ensures no more than 70% of an employee’s previous pay. States could request an additional two months, if needed, to make the transition. Democrats oppose the reduction.
- It provides some $105 billion to schools and colleges, with K-12 funds tilted toward schools that reopen with in-person learning.
- There's more money for virus testing, $15 billion for child care centers, and benefits for businesses, including a fresh round of loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, tax breaks, and a sweeping liability shield from COVID-19-related lawsuits.
- McConnell is taking flak from the left and right, with Democrats saying the spending isn't enough and GOP hardliners saying it's too much, per Politico. Republican infighting is weakening McConnell's leverage with Democrats as negotiations approach.
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