House Democrats have proposed a new $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that seeks to provide additional financial benefits to Americans during the health pandemic.
The more than 1,800 page package, which is expected to come to a vote this Friday, includes over $1 trillion in relief for state and local governments, around $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers called the “Heroes Fund,” and $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing.
Who would be elegible to receive a direct payment through this plan?
Included in the bill is a second round of direct payments of $1,200 per person similar to the initial stimulus check that began to be disbursed last month. An additional $1,200 would be paid for each dependent for a maximum of 3 dependents. Households could qualify for up to $6,000 in stimulus money through the plan. Payments would begin to be reduced by five percent once the “taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income” exceeds “$150,000 in the case of a joint return or a surviving spouse,” “$112,500 in the case of a head of household” and “$75,000 in any other case.”
Similar to the stimulus checks in the CARES Act, the federal government will determine eligibility through people’s 2019 tax returns. If they have not yet filed them, then the IRS will reference their 2018 tax returns.
What else is included in the plan?
The bill also aims to extend the $600 weekly federal unemployment payment through January, as well as provide an additional $175 billion in mortgage, rent, and utility assistance.
Additional subsidies and a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act for people who lose their employer-sponsored health coverage are part of the package, $10 billion as well as a 15% increase in the maximum benefit for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and $1.1 billion for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) are also included.
$10 billion would be allocated for emergency disaster assistance grants to help small businesses keep employees on their payroll, and the bill calls for a stronger employee retention tax credit.
The bill also includes relief for the U.S. Postal Service, which has struggled financially in recent years. There is also a stipulation in the bill for making voting by mail easier, as well as funding for election safety during the pandemic.
If passed, this bill would be the biggest emergency spending measure in the history of the United States, far surpassing the $2 trillion CARES Act, which was passed earlier this year to provide relief from the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
House Democrats face an uphill battle in getting this bill passed, as House Republicans rejected it without seeing the legislation, reports The Washington Post. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- KY) called the bill “a big laundry list of pet priorities,” while House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D- CA), said “this is what they need – this is meeting the needs of the American people.”
If passed, the bill would be Congress’ fifth coronavirus relief bill.
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