Senate Republicans back more stimulus checks, money to schools in new pandemic aid proposal

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Senate Republicans back more stimulus checks, money to schools in new pandemic aid proposal

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A second round of stimulus checks are in the works, but a new study says people who are poor, Black or Latino were less likely to receive the $1,200.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans plan to release details of a $1 trillion coronavirus relief package on Thursday that will include another round of stimulus checks and additional funding to help schools recover from the pandemic.

GOP leaders and the White House agreed Wednesday on key parts of the legislation, which will serve as a starting point for negotiations with Democrats, who have already passed their own bill in the House. Congress and the White House are under pressure to clinch a deal on a fresh pandemic aid package, with a federal program of expanded unemployment benefits set to run out within days.

One item that will be missing from the GOP plan is President Donald Trump’s demand for a payroll tax cut. Republicans abandoned that proposal even though Trump had suggested he might not sign any bill that doesn’t include it.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that a payroll tax cut will not be included in the bill because the focus is getting money to workers quickly. “The payroll tax takes time,” he said.

More stimulus checks?: Many Americans might not get another relief check. Here’s where things stand on another COVID-19 bill

The relief package comes as the U.S. continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 143,000 Americans and wreaked havoc on the economy. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans filing jobless claims rose for the first time since March, with 1.4 million people filing for unemployment claims.

The Republican legislation will include a limited extension of unemployment benefits, Mnuchin said on CNBC.

An extra $600 that Americans receive on top of their weekly unemployment benefits is set to run out at the end of the month. Mnuchin said the GOP plan would extend those supplemental benefits but not at the current level. Instead, the supplemental benefits will be “based on approximately 70% wage replacement,” Mnuchin said.

It was not immediately clear how the wage replacement would be structured.

The Republican proposal also will provide $70 billion in new funding for elementary and secondary schools. Half will be distributed on a per capita basis, while the rest will be awarded to schools that reopen this fall.

Mnuchin said the bill also will include $16 billion in new coronavirus testing, tax credits to encourage companies to hire workers and another round of direct payments to individuals. He did not say how large those payments would be or who would get them.

Since the coronavirus outbreak first hit the U.S., Congress and the White House have approved more than $3 trillion in aid, passing a series of bills that provided loans and grants to businesses hurt by the pandemic, stimulus checks to Americans, expanded unemployment for laid-off workers and money for increased testing and vaccine research.

For this round, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill in May that includes an extension of the $600 increase in unemployment benefits, a second $1,200 stimulus check for individuals and families, about $1 trillion for state and local governments, additional worker protections and more money for testing and contact tracing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed the House bill as “a non-starter” and said Republicans would come up with their own plan.

Contributing: Christal Hayes

Michael Collins covers the White House. Reach him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.

Left out: Black, Latino and poor people are less likely to get $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks, new report says

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