Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie everyone. So I got some serious tea and it’s about another Stimulus Package bill that Democrats signed but Senate republicans rejected it.
House Democrats unveiled another Covid-19 rescue bill Tuesday that would direct more than $3 trillion for state and local governments, health systems, a second round of stimulus checks, and a range of other priorities. According to The Washington Post;
Republicans rejected the legislation even before they saw it, describing it as a liberal wish list that would go nowhere in the Republican led Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was at work on crafting liability protections for businesses instead.
The massive new Democratic bill was assembled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her top lieutenants without input from Republicans or the Trump administration. It’s less an opening bid in a bipartisan negotiation than an expression of House Democrats’ priorities that they hope will resonate with the public as the nation suffers through the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.
The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, pushing the unemployment rate up to 14.7 percent. Many experts believe the rate will go even higher in the coming months as many Americans remain unsure about returning to work or spending money as the government continues to try and contain the pandemic.
The 1,800 page legislation, which the House is expected to vote on Friday, would devote nearly $1 trillion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments and establish a $200 billion “Heroes Fund” to extend hazard pay to essential workers. It would also send a second and larger round of direct payments to individual Americans, up to $6,000 per household!
Other parts of the bill would increase nutrition assistance benefits by 15 percent and provide $175 billion in housing assistance, among other things. A $600 weekly increase in unemployment insurance would be extended through January, and the bill directs another $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing.
It would be Congress fifth coronavirus relief bill, building on the $2 trillion Cares Act passed in late March. But while the first four bills were the result of urgent bipartisan compromise in the early days of the pandemic, now the two sides aren’t even talking and are moving in radically different directions. It’s unclear when they will come together to produce another bipartisan response.
“These are the pillars of our plan to go forward, to make our own environment in a way that is, again, unifying and respectful of those who are sacrificing their lives, as well as those who are feeling so much pain through all of this,” Pelosi said on MSNBC. ” This is what they need this is meeting the needs of the American people.”
Republicans disagreed. Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell described the legislation as “a big laundry list of pet priorities.” He said it was “exactly the wrong approach.”
McConnell said Senate Republicans would be producing legislation to offer legal liability protections to businesses, health care providers and the makers of protective gear, to prevent what he warned could be “a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits.”
Many business groups have asked for this liability protection to serve as a shield against lawsuits from employees who might become infected while at work.
Pelosi has said Democrats are not interested in offering liability shields to businesses, arguing that businesses can avoid lawsuits by following appropriate safety protocols. The Democratic bill requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a strong national standard within seven days requiring all workplaces to implement infection control plans and prevent retaliation against workers who report problems.