House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pressing ahead with a vote on a scaled-down stimulus bill tonight while negotiations continue with the White House for a compromise. Here’s what you need to know.
Tonight’s vote will be on the House’s amended HEROES Act. House Democrats had passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act in May, largely on a party-line vote. The pared-down version of the bill being voted on tonight will be closer to $2.2 trillion. Here’s what’s in it:
- Another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
- Federal enhanced unemployment benefits of $600 per week.
- Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program for small business relief.
- Billions of dollars for K-12 schools, postsecondary schools, and childcare.
- $75 billion for public health initiatives including coronavirus testing.
- Economic relief for states and cities.
- An extension of the suspension of student loan payments, interest, and collections to September 2021, and an expansion of that suspension to all federal student loans, including those issued by commercial lending entities.
Even if the bill passes the House tonight, though, the chances of passage in the Republican-controlled Senate are low. Republican senators have, so far, rejected many of the House Democrats’ proposals, and instead have offered their own scaled-down stimulus packages.
The Senate GOP’s most recent bill included reduced federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week, an additional $250 billion infusion into the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses, $10 billion for child-care support, and $10 billion to forgive a CARES Act-issued loan to the U.S. Postal Service. The bill also included controversial liability protections for businesses to protect them from lawsuits related to the Coronavirus. Democrats have strongly opposed such a provision. The Republican bill included no stimulus checks, and no additional student loan relief.
It was unclear whether Republican senators had enough votes within their own caucus to pass their own bill, since many GOP senators feel no additional stimulus is necessary.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to find common ground for compromise legislation.
“Today, Steve Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversation will continue,” said Speaker Pelosi in a statement. “The House will be proceeding with our vote tonight on the updated HEROES Act in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country.”