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House Democrats want to be Heroes.
On Tuesday morning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke for 50 minutes to go over the provisions of House’s revised Heroes bill, which was unveiled Monday night. The bill contains $1,200 stimulus checks, $436 billion for aid to state and local governments, small business aid, money for schools, as well as more aid for airlines. In total the package adds up to $2.2 trillion—down from the House’s previous $3.4 trillion plan, but far above the Republican target of $1.3 trillion.
The list of the bill’s provisions is extremely lengthy, including everything from funding for the Post Office, to Amtrak, to money to help close the ‘homework gap’ for kids without internet access. A full list can be found here. Funding for coronavirus testing and contact tracing ($75 billion) is included, as well as $225 billion for education—”including $182 billion for K-12 schools and nearly $39 billion for postsecondary education—and $57 billion to support child care for families.”
When it comes to stimulus checks, each individual would get $1,200, but dependents would qualify for $500 each (under the House’s original plan, dependents would have also gotten $1,200). However, there are a few important differences this time around. First, the bill specifies that dependents include full-time students under the age of 24 and adult dependents. Second, in order to receive a stimulus check one would only need a Taxpayer Identification Number, not a Social Security Number. And finally unlike the CARES Act payments, these would be exempt from levy or garnishment due to past due child support. The payments would be determined based on 2018 or 2019 tax returns, the bill states.
The plan would also extend $600 supplemental unemployment benefits through January. Those originally expired during the summer and were replaced by $300 weekly benefits that Trump specified through an executive order. Those also were set to expire this month.
There is widespread agreement that without more intervention, the nascent economic recovery may run out of steam. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Fed chief Jerome Powell have both testified that they believe more stimulus is necessary. Last week business mogul and investor Mark Cuban called for a wide-ranging stimulus package whereby every American would receive a $1,000 check every two weeks for the next two months.
According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammill, “The two went over the provisions of the updated Heroes Act” on Tuesday morning, “and agreed to speak again tomorrow,” he wrote on Twitter.
The endgame? If the two sides cannot make progress on a deal, it would allow the House to go ahead and pass the Heroes Act and campaign on its passage, putting the Senate in the uncomfortable spot of standing between struggling Americans and their stimulus checks.