Democrats unveil scaled-down Covid-19 relief package

Washington, Sep 29 : Democrat lawmakers from the US House of Representatives have unveiled a scaled down $2.2-trillion coronavirus relief package in an effort towards clinching a bipartisan deal before the November 3 presidential election.

The bill dubbed, Heroes Act is $1.2 trillion less than the one passed by the House in May which was rejected by the Senate Republicans, The Hill news website reported/

It includes $436 billion in emergency aid for state and local governments; $225 billion for schools and child care; an additional round of $1,200 stimulus checks for most Americans; money to restore $600 expanded unemployment payments through January; $75 billion for testing, contact tracing and other health care efforts; billions for housing assistance; and funding to shore up the census, US Postal Service and elections.

The new package was unveiled shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

They agreed to speak again on Tuesday, according to an aide.

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Regarding the new bill, Pelosi said in a letter addressed to colleagues on Monday night: “This evening, Democrats are unveiling an updated Heroes Act that serves as our proffer to Republicans to come to negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now.

“We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now.”

A day earlier, the veteran Democrat told CNN that another Covid-19 stimulus plan was still possible as Democrat lawmakers were trying to forge ahead on a smaller aid package.

In July, Senate Republicans released their $1 trillion proposal, but lawmakers failed to bridge their differences before the August recess.

Earlier this month, the Senate again failed to advance a Republican Covid-19 relief bill, which contained roughly $650 billion in total spending, with new funding of around $300 billion and repurposed previously approved spending of $350 billion.

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It also included extra weekly unemployment benefits at a reduced level of $300, but Democrats want to maintain the $600 benefits.

In August, President Donald Trump signed several orders to extend certain Covid-19 economic relief, but analysts believe that those measures are unlikely to provide a meaningful boost to the overall economy.

Economists have warned that the US economy is at serious risk of sliding back into recession if the White House and Congress couldn’t reach a deal on another fiscal rescue package in the coming months.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the US, jobless claims rose to 870,000 last week and the stock markets remain volatile, according to a CNBC News report.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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