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HEALS Bill: Another possible check for $1,200 and more benefits

HEALS Bill Another possible check for $1,200 and more benefits

Republicans in the Senate proposed a new $1,200 stimulus check this Monday, July 27, along with additional incentives and an aid plan to provide economic support in the midst of the pandemic.

On Monday, July 27, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the HEALS bill, the Senate bill to help offset financial and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is called HEALS and stands for Health, Financial Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools.

The HEALS bill will include a second economic stimulus check worth up to $1,200 to help keep eligible people afloat as the economic recession continues to deepen. The legislation will extend unemployment insurance, although it offers less money than the original CARES Act. It also will provide $100 billion for the reopening of schools.

“The check is there,” Larry Kudlow, a White House economic consultant, told CNN Sunday, July 26. “The employment bonus is there. The retention bonus is there. There will be exemptions for small tax credits for small businesses and restaurants. All of that will be there.”

The July 27 proposal in the Senate — which was not described in detail by McConnell — is only the first step toward consolidating the overall economic package. Until a final decision is reached and the bill is signed, bipartisan rounds of negotiations are expected to alter some of the terms. To decide, lawmakers have until Aug. 7, which is the last day before a long recess of another month.

We have gathered some of the many ideas that politicians from both parties have proposed beyond just a second round of payments and have assessed the likelihood that they will be considered in the legislative debate. We also took a look at how these ideas might affect you if they become part of the next aid package.

Second Economic Stimulus Check

What it is

A payment sent to qualifying individuals and families based on their annual income, age, number of dependents and other factors. The first stimulus checks authorized under the CARES Act have been sent to more than 160 million Americans, either as a check, prepaid credit card or direct deposit. However, after three months some people are still waiting to receive their payment.

Why we think this might happen

The payment is not subject to tax and you can use it as you wish to pay for food, housing, clothing, etc. The idea is that the checks are spent in order to help the economy recover.

How it could benefit you

The CARES Act authorized payments of up to US$1,200 per person. Senate Republicans are proposing to follow the same payment model through the HEALS Act. House Democrats offer slightly different eligibility and payment guidelines with the Cares bill.

While there are parts of the Cares Act that could have been better targeted to those who need more help, the checks were popular and both parties, as well as the White House, support the idea of a second round so it is quite possible that a second mailing of checks will be included in the final bill.

New extended unemployment benefits

What is

An additional weekly check for people who are applying for unemployment insurance for the first time or who were already receiving unemployment insurance The program, initially provided under the CARES Act, offered an extra $600 a week and expired on Saturday, July 25, but lawmakers are considering other unemployment support.

Why we think it might happen

Republicans have already supported an extension of support, albeit at a reduced rate, saying that $600 a week is too generous. “We’re not going to pay people more money to stay home instead of working,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday, July 23.

But with new unemployment claims exceeding $1 million every week for more than four months and a total of 31.8 million people claiming the benefit this month, the White House and Senate plan to extend the benefit. The Senate proposal to extend the benefit “will be based on an approximate 70 percent replacement of the payment,” Mnuchin said last week. However, Republicans could push for weekly payments of $100 or $200, CNBC reported.

How it could benefit you

A weekly bonus gives people and families some peace of mind and cutting back or reducing it could be devastating to both the unemployed and the economy.

“Every dollar of unemployment insurance drives spending in the economy by $2,” said Lily Roberts, director of economic mobility at the Center for American Progress. “The Economic Policy Institute estimates that allowing the $600 unemployment insurance extension to expire would itself cause unemployment to grow beyond the recessions of the early 20th century and into this century.

Payroll Protection Program to help businesses keep jobs

What is

In an effort to help people keep their jobs, the Payroll Protection Program offers forgivable small business loans as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll.

How it could help you

The program is designed to keep workers employed who would otherwise be unemployed during the pandemic. The program had a rough start and is not clear that it will meet the goals Congress set.

“Overall, the PPP has not preserved too many jobs,” wrote Joshua Gotbaum, an economics scholar at the Brookings Institution. “A careful study found that small PPP-crediting businesses laid off employees just as quickly as other businesses,” he said.

Why we think it could spread

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the new stimulus bill will include a second round of payroll protection, “with a special eye on hard hit businesses.

Withholding of tax credit to pay salaries

What is

Under this program, an employer may receive refunds on tax credits during the pandemic. The employer can use those credits to apply for taxes owed – and even get a cash refund.

How it can help you

Again, it is not a direct payment, but the program encourages businesses to keep their workers employed.

Why do we think this could happen

Kudlow indicated that it would be part of the Senate bill and we know from the Democrat-driven Heroes Act that there is support for generating tax credits that were originally part of the CARES Act. There is additional bipartisan support.

Return-to-work bonus up to US$450 per week

What is

A temporary weekly bonus for unemployed workers who get a job, in addition to their salary. It was proposed by Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio; the bonus would be $450 a week.

How it would help you

According to Portman’s plan, the weekly bonus would serve as an incentive for workers who were laid off and returned to work.

Why do we think this could happen

The White House expressed interest in May in this bond and Portman continues to support the idea.

Rental assistance to prevent evictions

What is

Five percent of people who paid rent in April, May and June have been unable to pay their rent in full, according to the National Council on Multi-Family Housing. This plan would help pay the rent and help homeowners with expenses if they do not have full rent.

How it could benefit you

Rental assistance may help temporarily cover rent and prevent evictions and help cover housing costs.

Why we think this might happen

Kudlow said the Senate plans to implement a moratorium on evictions. However, this protection has expired.

Payroll tax reduction so workers get more money

What is

President Donald Trump has been pushing the idea of including tax cuts in the payroll for months for the next stimulus. The proposal could include reducing employer and employee tax rates.

How it can benefit you

If you have a job, a tax reduction would benefit you directly because you would keep that money. The plan, however, would not help the 32 million unemployed people who collect unemployment insurance.

Why do we think this could happen

Neither the Heroes Act nor the current Senate plan include payroll tax reductions.

“I would prefer a tax reduction over a check,” Kudlow said Sunday, July 26. “But either way, politically it doesn’t work.”

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