Republican ‘Skinny’ Stimulus Bill Headed For A Vote—Here’s What’s In It, And What’s Not
Senate Republicans today unveiled their proposal for a smaller, targeted stimulus bill (the $500 billion Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act) and set up a procedural vote for later this week, but the proposal may not even make it through the Senate, let alone the Democratic-controlled House.
The bill includes another weekly federal unemployment supplement at the $300 level, down from $600 in the last stimulus package.
It expands the Paycheck Protection Program and would allow certain small businesses to receive a second forgivable PPP loan.
The bill also includes $105 billion for schools, $16 billion for virus testing and tracing and $10 billion for the Postal Service.
There are provisions that some Democrats are sure to oppose, including broad liability protections for businesses and schools.
The draft legislation leaves out a number of key Democratic priorities, including aid to state and local governments, another round of direct stimulus checks for individuals, and more funding for nutrition programs.
According to multiple news reports, it’s not even certain that 51 GOP Senators will support the bill (which Republicans would consider a symbolic win) and it’s highly unlikely that the skinny proposal will get the 60 votes (including at least seven Democrats and independents) that would be needed to overcome a filibuster. In May, Democrats passed the $3 trillion Heroes Act, but Republicans have yet to agree on and pass any proposal for the next stimulus bill. The $1 trillion HEALS Act, introduced in July, failed to garner enough Republican support to pass the Senate. Even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were to get this new bill through the Senate, the legislation would still have to make it through the House of Representatives over vehement objections by Democrats, who control that chamber. While some moderate Democrats and Republicans (especially those who are vulnerable heading into the election in November) may want to compromise on a smaller or larger bill, party leaders on both sides of the aisle are pushing for unity.
The GOP bill ran into a snag last week after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) pushed for the inclusion of new tax credits for donations to scholarship-granting organizations under the “school choice” initiative—something not all Republicans were on board with. The new proposal provides for two years of tax credits (Cruz had argued for permanent credits).
“Senators will not be voting on whether this targeted package satisfies every one of their legislative hopes and dreams,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “We vote on whether to make laws, whether to forge a compromise, whether to do a lot of good for the country and keep arguing over the remaining differences later.”
On Tuesday morning, top Democrats denounced the proposed package. “Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “If anyone doubts McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill. This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support.”
Mike Pence Says The White House Still Wants To Send Second Stimulus Checks (Forbes)
Schumer Slams Skinny GOP Stimulus Bill, Urges Democrats To Stick Together As Washington Remains Deadlocked (Forbes)
Economy Needs At Least $1.3 Trillion In New Stimulus To Sustain Recovery, Bridgewater CIO Says (Forbes)
Mnuchin: We Want To Extend Unemployment Insurance And Send Out More Stimulus Checks (Forbes)