Stacy M. Brown

GOP, Dems Try to Reach Consensus on New Stimulus Plan

The GOP presented its $1 trillion plan that includes another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for roughly the same group of residents who received direct payments earlier this year.

But Republicans also want to cut unemployment benefits and, incredibly, they’ve placed $1.75 billion in the proposed new coronavirus stimulus package to build a new FBI headquarters.

“Somewhere, somehow we’ve lost our way,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.). “While we may need a new FBI building, this has no place in a stimulus bill that’s supposed to help the economy and the American people.”

House Democrats in June passed the HEROES Act, a $3.4 trillion spending plan that provides direct payments to citizens and cash-strapped states and local governments. The Democrats’ bill also allows for billions of dollars for food and housing assistance.

After nearly two months of delay, Republicans in the Senate countered with the HEALS Act. This $1.1 trillion package also includes direct payments but no federal aid for housing, food or state and local governments.

The bill hasn’t come up for a vote in the Senate because Republicans have remained split on the measure.

Democrats have insisted that their counterparts act fast to negotiate a deal because the federal $600-per-week unemployment benefits paid out during the pandemic have ended. Democrats want to extend that benefit to Americans through the end of the year.

Republicans want to reduce that amount to $200, ending the federal bonus in September and limiting the maximum combined state and federal benefit to 70 percent of a beneficiary’s pay.

Both sides of the aisle have included another stimulus check to millions of Americans under the same rules as the CARES Act: $1,200 for individuals earning up to $75,000 (phasing out at $99,000) and $2,400 for married couples earning up to $150,000 (phasing out at $198,000).

While the Democrats’ bill seeks $1,200 for dependents, the GOP’s bill caps stimulus payments for dependents at $500.

President Donald Trump recently suggested that he would like the final bill to include stimulus payments that are “much more than the $1,200.”

In their measure, the Democrats provide about $60 billion to reopen schools, compared to $70 billion offered up by Republicans. Each also provides about $30 billion to assist colleges.

However, Democrats want about $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments to use toward education funding. The GOP bill mandates that a portion of the education aid must go to help private schools reopen.

“The Republican proposal is insufficient and comes months too late for people who need it,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a leading contender for running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Harris has proposed the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which would provide $2,000 each month for anyone with an income below $120,000 during coronavirus pandemic and three months following the end of the crisis.

Under Harris’ plan, parents would receive an additional $2,000 per child for up to three children, and payments would be retroactive to March.

“Bills come in every single month during the pandemic, and so should help from the government,” Harris said.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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