Stimulus: Here’s what’s in the GOP’s ‘skinny’ bill


The so-called “skinny” bill includes a $300 federal boost for unemployment benefits and fresh relief for small businesses, but cuts out money for a second round of stimulus checks that were included in an earlier GOP proposal. It also doesn’t offer new funding for cash-strapped states, which Democrats support.
The legislation could face a procedural vote as soon as Thursday, but has little chance of ever becoming law. There are still several Republicans threatening to vote against the new proposal and it’s unlikely to gain any support from Democrats — who are unified behind a much larger $3 trillion stimulus package that passed the House in May.

Republicans also put forth a $1 trillion stimulus bill in July, but it never came to a vote.

Unemployment benefits

GOP skinny bill: Would offer federal unemployment benefits of $300 through the week ending December 27, half of what Congress included in its March coronavirus relief package. Payments would be retroactive to the end of July, when the original $600 weekly supplement expired.

If approved, this $300 benefit would likely be in addition to the $300 weekly payment authorized by President Donald Trump in August. However, Trump’s benefit is being paid out of federal disaster relief funds and is only expected to last five weeks or so. Also, not everyone currently receiving unemployment benefits is eligible for Trump’s payment.

Previous GOP bill: Would slice the weekly federal enhancement to $200 for August and September. Starting in October, the unemployed would receive a payment that when combined with their state benefit would replace 70% of their lost wages through the end of the year. The supplement could not exceed $500 a week.

House Heroes Act: Would extend the weekly $600 federal boost until January 31. But it would allow workers in the traditional state benefits program by that date to continue collecting the federal supplement until the end of March.

However, those in the temporary federal expansion programs — including the pandemic unemployment assistance program, which Congress created in late March to allow freelancers, the self-employed and certain people affected by the pandemic to qualify for jobless benefits — would not receive the $600 enhancement after the end of January.

Money for small businesses

GOP skinny bill: Would allow some small businesses to apply for a second loan from the Paycheck Protection Program. That would be limited to those with fewer than 300 employees that have seen a drop of at least 35% of their revenue during the first or second quarter of 2020. It would also reduce the amount a borrower can receive from $10 million to $2 million and gives businesses more flexibility on how they spend the money.

Previous GOP bill: Would open up the Paycheck Protection Program for a second round of loans. But it would have limited the program to businesses that lost at least 50% of their revenue.

House Heroes Act: Did not include additional money for small business loans — in part because the program had not expired when that bill was passed in May.

Education funding

GOP skinny bill: Would provide $105 billion in education funds, about two-thirds of which would be reserved for schools that reopen for in-person instruction.

It would also provide money for school choice scholarships that parents can use to send their child to a public or private school outside their home district and fund grants to eligible child care providers so that they can pay for cleaning supplies, safety equipment and other expenses.

Previous GOP bill: Like the skinny bill, it called for $105 billion in education funds, about two-thirds of which would be reserved for schools that reopen for in-person instruction.

House Heroes Act: Would provide $100 billion in education funds. It would not tie money to the way schools reopened.

What’s missing: Stimulus checks

GOP skinny bill: Does not include money for a second round of direct stimulus checks to Americans.

Previous GOP bill: Includes money for a second round of direct stimulus payments worth up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families. It would send an additional $500 per dependent, regardless of their age. The first round excluded dependents who were older than 17.

The size of the payments would again scale down — starting with individuals who earn more than $75,000 a year and married couples who earn more than $150,00 — and phase out all-together for higher income individuals.

House Heroes Act: Would provide for a second round of stimulus payments that would be more generous than the first. It calls for $1,200 per family member, and maxes out at $6,000 per household.

The size of the payments would again scale down — starting with individuals who earn more than $75,000 a year and married couples who earn more than $150,00 — and phase out all-together for higher income individuals.

What’s missing: Additional state aid

Previous GOP Bill: Would not provide more funding but would increase the time window…



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