House Democrats have officially unveiled their new stimulus package aimed to address the ongoing economic downturn, proposing an immediate $3 trillion dollars to be sent to the states , individuals, and essential workers on the front lines of this pandemic. The proposal has been rejected outright by Republican leaders in the Senate.
Here's four main proposals in the House Democrats bill:
Second round of stimulus checks
The Democratic proposal would send a second round of stimulus checks to individuals making up to $99,000 and couples making up to $198,000. The check would be the same amount (up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples) as the first round of stimulus checks. However, this proposal would give $,1200 (double that of the first round of checks) per dependent for a maximum of three. So under this proposal the maximum a family could receive would be $6,000.
Unlike the first round of stimulus checks, legal immigrants who file returns with a taxpayer identification number would be eligible to receive a check.
Additional $600/week additional unemployment supplement extended through January
The additional $600/week in unemployment benefits would be extended through January. If left unchanged, the additional $600/week for those receiving unemployment benefits will expire on July 31st.
Billions of dollars for state and local governments
House Democrats are proposing sending $500 billion to state governments, $375 billion to local governments, $20 billion to tribal communities, and $20 billion to US territories. Washington, D.C. would also receive $755 million in emergency financial aid.
This money could be used to pay for public workers like police, firefighters, and teachers, whose income is derived from local and state taxes, which will be significantly lower than expected due to large swaths of the American economy grinding to a halt.
Expansion of maximum monthly SNAP benefits
The maximum amount of monthly SNAP benefits would be increased by 15% for individuals and families enrolled in the program.
To be clear, this is the opening salvo in what are expected to be contentious negotiations between the House, Senate, and White House. Senate Republicans have already publicly stated the legislation is a non-starter in their chamber, but that is likely a negotiating tactic on their part, as well.
If I were a betting man, which I am not, I would guess that Senate Republicans will release their own proposal without any input from Democrats. That undoubtedly will not be able to garner the 60 votes needed to pass their chamber, but that wouldn't be the end of things. Then leadership in both Houses of Congress and the White House will start searching for a middle-of-the-road compromise that could pass both Houses and be signed by the President. It may take a few weeks to a month, but something will likely be passed that both parties can be (mostly) happy with.
In the meantime, the American people will simply have to wait and see if our leaders can rise to the challenge before them.