Democrats unveiled a new scaled-down stimulus proposal on Monday evening, which includes a second round of stimulus checks and an extension of the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits.
The updated HEROES Act costs $2.2 trillion — down from the initial $3.4 trillion proposal the Democrats released in the spring — and it includes a trimmed-down dependent stimulus check bonus. The initial proposal featured a $1,200 bonus for any dependent, while the updated proposal cuts the bonus to $500 per dependent.
“Democrats are unveiling an updated Heroes Act that serves as our proffer to Republicans to come to negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a statement on Monday.
Like under the CARES Act, single adults with income up to $75,000 would be eligible for the full $1,200 stimulus check, while reduced checks would be available for single adults who earned between $75,001 and $99,000.
Married couples with a combined income up to $150,000 would get $2,400, while those earning between $150,001 and $198,000 would receive reduced checks. The extra $500 would also apply to all dependents, not just children under 17 that was stipulated in the CARES Act.
The Republicans’ latest proposal worth around $300 billion — which was rejected in the Senate didn’t include a second round of stimulus checks. But the president has been encouraging them to “go for the much higher numbers,” and reiterated his support for more direct payments to Americans.
‘We don’t think the numbers are right’
Also under the revised plan, the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits — which were available under the CARES Act and expired at the end of July — would be extended through the end of January 2021. The bill would cover unemployment benefits retroactively from September 6.
The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, implemented after the president’s executive memorandum, provided states with the benefits for six weeks up until September 5. Those benefits have mostly expired and millions of unemployed Americans are relying solely on their regular state benefits.
The latest Republican proposal also included extra unemployment benefits of $300 a week — or half of what Democrats are proposing — through the end of December.
The revised Democratic package will likely face opposition in the Senate as disagreements over the cost of the bill and key provisions. The $2.2 trillion price tag is still much higher than the latest Republican proposal, which was worth around $300 billion and was rejected in the Senate.
“They have a new offer on the table. We don’t think the numbers are right — $2.2 trillion — which is a very big number,” White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC on Tuesday when asked about the Democratic proposal. “The other team wants a gigantic package and we don't think we need that.”