UPD

After months of urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deliver new COVID-related assistance for a nation still reeling from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today expressed disappointment at the inadequacies of the long-overdue Senate Republicans’ Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act and called on Senate Republicans to stop their dithering and caucus infighting and to immediately begin negotiations with Senate Democrats and adopt urgently needed proposals that will provide robust funding for needy New Yorkers and a recovering New York. Schumer explained that the HEALS Act does little to provide aid for the most severely impacted communities and individuals and contains nothing for national priorities such as state and local aid, hazard pay, child nutrition, SNAP, U.S. Postal Service, and more.

“As communities across New York State rebuild and recover from a global pandemic, this new proposal falls dreadfully short of providing the relief they need,” said Senator Schumer.  “The HEALS Act, which does not even have the full support of the Republican Caucus, is haphazard and tilted to special interests rather than the urgent needs of suffering citizens need to beat back and recover from the crisis. The infighting and dithering must stop so we can finally get to work and deliver to the mom and pop businesses across Upstate New York, so our schools can open and operate safely, and our communities get the resources and assistance they need to get back to normal. The House passed a comprehensive relief package over two months ago, and I have been ready and willing since then to negotiate a package that provides real help for struggling Americans. Enough dithering and delay, let’s get to work for the American people in need – renters, the unemployed, the sick and our students and parents.”

Schumer said the HEALS Act is inadequate, ignores the needs of the current economic and health crisis and fails to provide support for crucial relief to New York’s families, workers, small businesses, and unemployed. The Senate Republican proposal provides not a single extra penny towards state and local aid, which localities have been demanding for months, ignores the plight of the USPS, which could go bankrupt without additional federal aid, ties much needed school funding to reopening plans, which school districts across Upstate New York have fought against, and skips over housing assistance for rent, mortgage, and utility payments. Additionally, the HEALS Act does not contain any additional money for EIDL grants and loans which have been crucial to helping farmers Upstate during the crisis, provides inadequate funding for a testing strategy that will help New York recover, and grossly underestimates the amount of federal support hospitals and health systems need to maintain operations and continue the fight against COVID-19.

The senator also questioned the presence of several extraneous items in the Senate Republican funding bill, such as $1.75 billion for the construction of a new FBI headquarters intended to prop up the value of the neighboring Trump hotel and $8 billion for Navy and Air Force weapons procurement. Additionally, Schumer noted that the HEALS Act contains $30 billion for defense contractor bailouts, but no additional funding towards safekeeping democracy through election security programs or the U.S. Postal Service, both of which are in dire need of federal aid. The bill also does not include funding for broadband which is needed now more than ever for workers, students and families to cope with this pandemic.

The senator also expressed concern about Senate Republicans’ single-minded push for corporate legal immunity, which they falsely claim is justified by a ‘tsunami’ of lawsuits by workers and consumers, even though no such wave has materialized.

A side-by-side comparison of some of the key provisions in the House-passed HEROES Act and Senate Democrat proposals and the Senate Republican HEALS Act appear below:

SCHOOL FUNDING + CHILD CARE
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL (CCCERA) REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Funding for Elementary and Secondary Schools $175 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund which would provide schools with wide discretion on use of funds (e.g. PPE, school-based support for impacted students, employees, and staff, purchase of technology, training for distance education, payroll, emergency financial aid); $33 billion for governors, $21 billion available to all schools,

$49 billion available only to schools with comprehensive reopening plan for at least part-time in-person instruction; States required to reserve portion of allocation for private schools; Establishes a federally funded private school voucher program; $5 billion for governors

Funding For Institutions of Higher Education $132 billion $29 billion

 

 

Child Care $50 billion $15 billion

BROADBAND
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Emergency Connectivity Fund $1.5 billion to provide Wi-Fi hotspots and connectivity devices to students $0
Emergency Broadband Benefit $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs $0

HOUSING ASSISTANCE
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Assistance for Renters and Homeowners $175 billion in support for monthly rent, mortgage and utility payment, and other housing related costs $0

PROTECTIONS FOR OUR DEMOCRACY
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Funding for United States Postal Service $25 million $0
Funding for Secure Elections $3.6 billion $0

HAZARD PAY FOR FRONTLINE/ESSENTIAL WORKERS
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
HEROES Fund $200 billion HEROES’ fund to provide hazard pay for frontline/essential workers $0

HEALTH RELATED AID
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Funding for Testing $75 billion testing, contact tracing, isolation support and targeted interventions in communities of color $16 billion for testing, far below what experts say is needed
Support for Vulnerable Communities $75 billion in Medicaid funding and support for persons with disabilities $0, guts Americans with Disabilities Act protections
Support for health care system $100 billion for Hospitals/Providers that have taken on huge financial losses to focus on COVID-19 patients, support for health care loans $25 billion for Hospitals/providers, inadequate loan support
Nursing Homes $20 billion to keep nursing home residents safe, other support systems $0
VAWA $100 million with a waiver of the local match requirement $0
Affordable Health Care Coverage Provides subsidies for the cost of COBRA premiums, allows special enrollments for Medicare and ACA exchanges and mandates coverage of COVID-19 treatment at no cost-sharing $0

SMALL BUSINESS AID
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
PPP Reforms and Other Small Business Assistance ·       Additional $10 billion in EIDL Grant Funding;

·       Provides $1 billion for CDFIs to provide assistance to underserved communities;

·       Creates a 25% set-aside of PPP lending through community financial institutions, including Minority Depository Institutions;

·       Creates a 25% set-aside of PPP funding for nonprofits, including half of that funding for nonprofits of all sizes and all types;

·       Expands PPP eligibility to small, local newspapers, radio, and TV stations;

·       Includes requirements to prevent the President, Members of Congress and the Executive Branch from receiving small business assistance

·       $0 for EIDL grants;

·       $0 in specific funding for CDFIs;

·       Does not include a dedicated CDFI-MDI set-aside;

·       Restricts eligibility for nonprofits, leaving out many in the sector;

·       No eligibility expansion for small, local news broadcast entities;

·       Does not include requirements preventing the President, the Executive Branch, and Members of Congress from accessing small business assistance

DIRECT PAYMENTS/UNEMPLOYMENT
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Additional Round of Direct Payments ·       $1,200 for individuals making up to $75,000, phasing out completely for individuals making more than $99,000;

·       Increases the dependent payment amount to $1,200, for up to three dependents;

·       Expands the payment to include Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) holders

·       $1,200 for individuals making up to $75,000, phasing out completely for individuals making more than $99,000;

·       Provides a $500 payment per dependent;

·       Excludes ITIN holders from receiving the payment

Extending Enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) ·       Extends $600 per week federally-funded unemployment benefit increase until January 31, 2021.

·       Following the House passage of the HEROES Act, Senators Schumer and Wyden introduced the American Workforce Rescue Act, which would establish “automatic stabilizers” to tie UI benefits to states’ unemployment rates and ensure enhanced benefits remain available to workers and families for the duration of the crisis.

Lowers the federally-funded enhanced unemployment benefits to $200 per week through September and changes to a 70% wage replacement starting October 2020. These benefits expire December 31, 2020.

TAX RELIEF FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction Eliminates the SALT deduction cap for 2020 and 2021 No SALT deduction cap relief
Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Temporarily expands the eligibility and amount of the CTC and EITC, including expanding the EITC for childless workers, making the CTC fully refundable, and applying the credits to Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories No expansion of CTC and EITC

FOOD ACCESS
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
SNAP increase $17 billion $0
Additional funding to ensure students have access to nutritious food when schools are closed (P-EBT) $5 billion to extend P-EBT benefits and to help schools No extension, benefits ended in June
Funding for food banks $150 million $0
Prevention of Administrative SNAP cuts $18 billion Allows for cuts to move forward

MULTIEMPLOYER PENSION RELIEF
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Multiemployer Pension Relief Includes the Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, which allows multiemployer pension plans to move unfunded liabilities to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), avoids increases in PBGC premium payments, and protects full benefits for all workers and retirees No multiemployer pension relief

RELIEF FOR STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Relief for Student Loan Borrowers Provided up to $10,000 in direct student debt relief to federal student loan borrowers, and

extended the temporary student loan relief provided in CARES Act that: (1) paused all federal student loan payments, (2) suspended interest on federal student loans, and (3) paused collections on defaulted student loans

No direct relief and no extension on CARES Act provisions that expire on September 30.

TRANSPORTATION
PROGRAM DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL
Airport Aid $13 billion $10 billion
Airline Payroll Support Grant Extension $32 billion to keep workers on payroll and employed $0
Transit $23.8-$36 billion $0
Amtrak $2.7 billion $0
Highways $15 billion in HEROES $0
Intercity Bus $750 million $0
Lockwood Law

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