This is my stimulus update for July 21.
McConnell’s Speech Today
So this morning on the Senate Floor Mitch McConnell himself spoke about what’s going to be in the Republican bill for the next stimulus package, and yes, he did say they will push for direct payments, but he didn’t really give us a lot of details on the stimulus payment.
As a preface, though, Mitch began his speech by talking about the pain of the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown, he went on to talk about the CARES Act passed in March, how it saved tens of millions of jobs, how the Senate helped the nation endure the first phase of the COVID-19 crisis.
But then he warned that the crisis is far from over.
He admitted that coronavirus cases are rising in some parts of the country and that we have just begun to pick up the pieces, the battle’s not won yet.
He said that the country’s job now is more complex than it was in March. He talked about maintaining the health system as the country seeks to return to normalcy as we await for a vaccine.
And of course he can’t be the Senate Majority Leader without taking a shot at the Democrats in the House, here’s a clip:
Mitch McConnell: For weeks now, I have made it clear that further legislation out of the Senate will be a serious response to this crisis. We won’t be wasting the American people’s time like the House Democrats, with their multi-trillion-dollar proposal to hike taxes on small businesses, cut taxes for blue-state millionaires, and send diversity detectives into the cannabis industry.
I agree that the Democrats’ HEROES Act didn’t have a chance in heck of passing and it was stuffed with proposals that really don’t need to be a priority right now, and I made a video about it back in May called No One Likes the HEROES Act, so yes, Mitch, the Democrats weren’t very helpful there, but your Senate has been sitting on the sidelines for months now while many in this country are suffering incredibly, I think some of the blame lies with you as well.
$105 Billion for Schools to Reopen
When it comes to specific items that McConnell laid out would be in the Republican bill, McConnell kicked off his list by stating that in the Republican legislation there will be $105 billion for educators so they have the resources to safely reopen schools, this is really the only specific dollar amount that he gave in his speech.
McConnell said that will be a top priority in the Republican legislation.
Then McConnell talked about the unemployment crisis, stating that the Republican bill will propose several specific incentives to hire and retain workers.
He did not go into specifics there.
Reimbursements for Business Safety
He also said that the Republican bill will seek to reimburse Main Street businesses so they can afford PPE like masks, so they can afford testing, cleaning, remodeling to ensure a safe place of business for both employees and customers.
PPP Round 2.0
McConnell confirmed that a second round of PPP, Paycheck Protection Program, will be in the Republican bill, but this round would be more targeted with, and “a special eye toward hard hit businesses.”
That’s that targeted approach that Republicans seem to be taking in the next stimulus relief bill.
Stimulus Checks 2.0
And yes, McConnell did address direct payments, here’s what he said:
Mitch McConnell: And speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback.
So not a lot of detail there from Mitch, he did not specifically say whether the round would be targeted or not, he didn’t bring up the $40,000 figure that caused so much drama earlier this month, but nevertheless it is reassuring that Mitch basically said right here that there will be more stimulus checks, how much and to whom he did not disclosure, but this is of course a good sign, both Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans want another round of stimulus checks in some way, shape or form.
Mitch then went on to speak about how the Republican proposal will dedicate more resources to advancing developments on a COVID-19 vaccine, which he said would be the fastest race for a new vaccine in human history.
He said the Republican bill would also protect seniors from a potential spike in premiums.
He wrapped up by mentioning the liability protection that we know he has been a big fan of all along, here’s the clip:
Mitch McConnell: As I have said for months, the next recovery package will include strong legal protections for the healthcare workers who saved strangers’ lives and the schools, colleges, charities, and businesses that want to reopen.
The American people will not see their historic recovery efforts gobbled up by trial lawyers who are itching to follow this pandemic with a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits.
Gross negligence will still be actionable, but we’re creating a safe harbor for institutions that make a good-faith effort to follow the guidelines available to them.
Doctors and nurses clearly deserve this protection. And school districts, universities, nonprofits, and small businesses will need it, too, if we want any genuine reopening at all.
These are just some of the elements that senate republicans are discussing among ourselves and with the administration but there is one more central proposal that ties kids jobs and health care all together as I’ve said for months the next recovery package will include strong legal protections for the health care workers who save strangers lives and the schools colleges charities and businesses that want to reopen the american people will not see their historic recovery gobbled up by trial lawyers who are itching to follow the pandemic with a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits
Gross negligence will still be actionable but we’re creating a safe harbor for institutions that make good faith efforts to follow the guidelines available to them.
So Mitch is saying that he does not want businesses, schools, hospitals taken down by lawyers, by lawsuits from individuals saying, oh, I tested positive for COVID-19, I got it from your business.
He said that gross negligence would still be actionable, meaning that if a business does not adequately follow guidelines and safety precautions, they could still be sued, but if a business is taking all necessary precautions, masks, hygiene, McConnell believes that that business should be able to open up and conduct business insofar as permitted by law without fear of litigation.
Two Things McConnell Did Not Mention
Noticeably missing from McConnell’s statement on the Senate floor is the supercharged unemployment benefits that Trump is apparently pushing for.
We know the Democrats want to extend that $600 weekly payment past the end of this month when it’s going to expire.
We know that Some Republicans have proposed other things like back-to-work bonuses or reduce supercharged unemployment, $200 a week, $400 a week. McConnell didn’t address that.
Another noticeably missing component here is the payroll tax cuts that Trump is apparently pushing strongly for at this point.
In my update from two days ago, I told you how it looks like there is some potential drama brewing between Trump and other White House officials who want that payroll tax cut and Senate Republicans who aren’t as big a fan, and we also have Mnuchin not pushing for a payroll tax cut as hard because he doesn’t think it’ll fly with the Democrats.
I’m not going to rehash that here, you can watch my July 19 stimulus update for more information on that.