House approves $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus measure

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The bill contains more aid than Republicans have said they are willing to accept

On Thursday night, the House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion Democratic COVID-19 stimulus plan. 

The bill, which is opposed by Republicans, would accomplish the following: 

  • Reinstate the $600 per week enhanced unemployment benefit through January;

  • Send a second $1,200 direct payment to most Americans;

  • Give $436 billion in relief over one year to state and local governments;

  • Authorize more money for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for the hardest-hit businesses and industries;

  • Send $25 billion to airlines to cover payroll costs;

  • Inject $75 billion into COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts;

  • Put $225 billion into education and $57 billion into child care; and

  • Set aside billions for rental and mortgage assistance.

Democrat-only plan

Thursday’s plan was approved by a vote of 214-207. Eighteen Democrats voted against the measure and all Republicans opposed it. At the present time, talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin still haven’t resulted in an official deal. 

On Wednesday, Mnuchin put forward a $1.6 trillion proposal that would include $250 billion for state and local government relief, $400 per week in extra unemployment benefits, $150 billion for education, $75 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and $60 billion for rental and mortgage assistance, according to NBC. 

Earlier on Thursday, Pelosi said she was optimistic that a bipartisan deal could be agreed upon. However, she said the two sides still have different stances on several big issues.

“We have come to, kind of, in the ballpark of some things,” Pelosi said. “Still way off in terms of state and local government, state and local government, our heroes: health care workers, police and fire, teachers, teachers, sanitation, transportation, food workers – the people who make it possible for us to be here. They make government function, state and local.” 

She added that Democrats "have concerns about a sufficient amount of money to address the unemployment insurance needs of the American people."

Pelosi told reporters that she planned to go home and review documents that Mnuchin had sent her to determine how to proceed.

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