Senate Republicans unveiled the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) act on July 27. The $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill would reduce unemployment insurance to $200 a week from $600 a week established in the cares act. The bill would also offer $1200 direct payments to those who qualify, similar to the CARES Act. The bill also includes:
- $2.2 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to maintain current Section 8 voucher rental assistance
- $1 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund to maintain public housing programs and help contain the spread of coronavirus in public housing properties
- $113.4 million for the Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance Program
The HEALS act is the Republican response to the HEROES act, which includes a proposed $3 trillion in aid. The senate negotiations to pass a bipartisan bill are currently ongoing.
On August 8th, President Trump a series of executive orders aimed at addressing pandemic relief. There are questions as to the feasibility of the orders, as the White House does not have the authority to control federal spending, and others contain vague language. These executive orders and memos could also face lawsuits which would tie them up in court.
- $400 a week unemployment payment, $100 of which would be paid by each state
- Funding is slated to come from the Disaster Relief Fund. This fund could only cover an estimated five weeks of payments
- The order leaves it up to the secretary of Health and Human Services is to decide whether to temporarily halt evictions
- It does not address whether financial assistance will be provided to renters
- Memo extends student loan deferment established under the CARES Act until the end of the year
- Memo gives secretary Mnuchin the ability to defer payroll taxes for those earning under $100,00 a year. Deferment would mean taxes would be due at the end of the year.