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Democrats' New $2.4 Trillion Stimulus Plan May Reach Vote Next Week

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 House Democrats are currently preparing a new stimulus package to provide aid and relief to those impacted by the pandemic. The approximate cost of the latest stimulus plan is said to be about $2.4 trillion.  

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What is in the Democrats’ new stimulus package?

 CNBC reported that the latest unemployment report was 8.4 percent in August. On Sept. 24, the Labor Department stated that initial jobless claims rose to 870,000 last week.  

 To assist those suffering from unemployment and other economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the House of Representatives seeks to vote on a new relief bill as early as next week.  

 

The May stimulus plan came at a cost of $3.4 trillion, and the new package proposed by House Democrats has a price tag of $2.4 trillion. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hopes this lower amount may be feasible. However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had previously stated that $1.5 trillion was the most the White House was prepared to accept.  

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 The Democrats’ proposed stimulus package is said to include increased unemployment benefits, direct payments, small business loans, and further aid to airlines and the restaurant industry.  

A September 28 press release outlined the proposal in greater detail. In addition to a second direct payment of $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per each dependent, the bill includes enhanced funding for testing and tracing,  $225 billion for education and childcare, and $436 billion in aid for first responders and health workers.

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Other items included in the bill are housing assistance, an extension of the $600 federal unemployment payments through January 2021, and a further extension of unemployment eligibility. Finally, the bill seeks to address "Safeguards our democracy, with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service."

Status of new stimulus bill

The New York Times reported that airline industry representatives have been lobbying for additional aid to help prevent further job losses. The restaurant sector also has expressed deep concern over their outlook, especially as the weather turning colder may hurt business due to health concerns over dining indoors.  

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Young masked waiter during the pandemic

 
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has been in support of getting a vote through in recent weeks. On Sept. 24, House Democrats met with Speaker Pelosi to discuss and determine next steps. 

Democrats and Republicans have stalled in negotiations over a second coronavirus stimulus relief plan since August.

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has said (via NYT), “If Democrats are willing to sit down, I’m willing to sit down any time for bipartisan legislation in the Senate. Let’s pass something quickly.”

House leaders have been under pressure to reach an agreement for aid before leaving Washington to work on their reelection campaigns.

 Democratic Representative Stephanie Murphy of Florida told reporters that a vote should happen even without Republican support. “We should vote on it because there are Americans who need assistance.” 

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New stimulus direct payments

 

The Republicans’ reduced stimulus relief package of $500 billion, released earlier this month, did not include direct payments. Both Democrats and Republicans have voiced support for direct payments to provide financial assistance to Americans facing joblessness. The new Democrats’ stimulus package includes direct payments.

When is the vote on the new stimulus package?

 Officials say the Democrats’ new stimulus package may be put to a vote as soon as next week. House Ways and Means Commitee Chairman Richard Neal confirmed that timeline, saying the vote was likely to occur before the committee goes on recess. 

 Speaker Pelosi has been quoted (via Politico) as saying, “If necessary, we can formalize the request by voting on it on the House floor." 

This article, originally published Sept. 25, 2020, has been updated with new information regarding the details of the proposed bill.

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