On Monday, Senate Republicans unveiled a coronavirus relief package. The package reduces the size of enhanced unemployment benefits. In the short term, the gains are for an extra $200 per week, from the current $600.
Moreover, their proposals include COVID-19 liability protections for businesses. Thus, they can spend their next months reopening rather than fighting for their lives against frivolous lawsuits. That is what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. The protections will be in place as long as businesses made reasonable efforts complying with public health guidelines. Moreover, they should not engage in ‘grossly negligent’ behavior.
Entertainment industry groups have been pushing for a continuation of unemployment benefits. Those benefits are set to expire this week.
The extra $200-per-week payments will run through to September under the GOP plan. It would be replaced with a formula to replace seventy percent of a worker’s lost wages for the next month. Republicans have criticized the current amount. They argue that it pays some unemployed individuals more than they were getting when they were in the workforce.
Payment and benefits
The GOP plan’s other aspects include another round of $1,200 ‘rebate’ payment. Those payments are for those who have incomes of up to $75,000, and are eligible for the full amount. Other provisions include payroll tax credit and enhanced hiring. Another arrangement includes extending another round of loans hard-hit small businesses, or those that have seen a revenue loss of greater than fifty percent. Another program would extend longer-term loans to those in low-income areas and individual seasonal businesses.
The legislation has a price tag of about $1 trillion. It very quickly ran into opposition from Democrats, who see the law as insufficient.
Nancy Pelosi is House Speaker. She talked with MSNBC and asked “why are they quibbling over $600 when people need that to buy food, and pay the rent?”