Republican v. Democratic U.S. coronavirus relief proposals

The Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate has introduced its proposal for the next coronavirus relief package, a $1 trillion plan called the Heals Act. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the U.S. Capitol building, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Tom BrennerBelow is a look at how it compares with the Heroes Act that passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in May: UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS Republican plan: Would reduce the expanded unemployment benefit from the current $600 per week, which expires on Friday, to $200 a week, in addition to state unemployment benefits, and extend the program for two more months. After that, states are to pay employees about 70% of the income they had before they lost their jobs. Democratic plan: Extends weekly enhanced unemployment payments of $600 through January 2021. DIRECT PAYMENTS Senate Republican plan: Includes $1,200 per individual; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised “even more support for families who care for vulnerable adult dependents.” Democratic plan: $1,200 per family member, up to $6,000 per household. LIABILITY PROTECTION: Republican plan: Includes as one of its core proposals measures to protect businesses and institutions from coronavirus-related lawsuits if they are following government guidelines. Democratic plan: did not include anything on this and Democratic leaders have pushed back against the idea. SCHOOLS Republican plan: Includes $70 billion for helping schools to reopen and $30 billion for colleges and universities. Democratic plan: $100 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts and institutions of higher education in response to coronavirus. TESTING, CONTACT TRACING AND TREATMENT Republican plan: $16 billion for coronavirus testing; $25 billion for hospitals. Democratic plan: $75 billion for testing, tracing and isolation measures, and to support hospitals and healthcare providers and ensure free access to treatment for individuals. PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM Democratic plan: Gives small businesses more flexibility with how they use loans from this program (previously they were required to use 75% for payroll expenses, or be forced to pay it back as a loan) Republican plan: Would allow the hardest-hit smallest employers, whose revenue has declined by 50% or more, to get a second forgivable loan under the program. To qualify, businesses must have 300 or fewer employees. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS Democratic plan: Nearly $1 trillion in aid to state, local, territorial and tribal governments to help pay first responders, healthcare workers and teachers. Republican plan: Does not include new money, but Republicans said it would give state and local leaders more flexibility in spending the $150 billion passed into law in March.

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