COVID-19 Stimulus Checks 2: What’s Included in the New ‘Skinny Bill’?

covid-19 stimulus checks second round

Getty Will there be a second COVID-19 stimulus check, but what would it look like, and what is the HEALS Act?

As negotiations between Republicans and Democrats remain stalled, a new COVID-19 stimulus relief proposal by Republicans in the U.S. Senate would pare back the original proposal in the hopes of reaching a deal.

This is by no means certain to pass, and its form could also change if it does. However, a lot of Americans are wondering what’s in the so-called skinny stimulus bill. First of all, a word about what isn’t included, at least so far: a second round of stimulus checks. That’s even though stimulus checks are one of the few things that both sides have indicated they conceptually agree on.

Here’s what the skinny bill, which is not yet a formal proposal, contains, according to Politico.

  • $300 in weekly enhanced unemployment benefits. This is half the $600 that people originally got when the pandemic started. It’s what President Donald Trump used an executive order to get through, although there are questions on the legality of that method (Trump cited a $400 check but that included 25% from states, who wouldn’t be obligated to pay it.)
  • Liability protections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made this a big deal. He wants entities like universities to be protected from lawsuits over COVID-19.
  • More money for the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • $10 billion extra for the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Money “for education and testing.”
  • The skinny proposal came after negotiations between the two parties completely fell apart, and the Senate went on summer recess until Labor Day. The focal point of debate then switched to postal service funding, and there appeared to be little movement toward a deal.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    The Overall Cost of the Second Stimulus Relief Plan Has Stalled Negotiations

    stim checks


    The Republican skinny bill is an attempt to break the logjam caused because neither side will agree on a dollar amount acceptable to the other. Democrats want a bill of about $3.4 million, but they’re willing to come down a trillion. Republicans wanted a bill around $1.1 trillion. Since the skinny bill is a scaled back version of the original, it may be difficult to get Democrats on board because it moves the cost away from their goal.

    “We have to try to come to that agreement now — all they have to do is recognize the need,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, according to The New York Times.

    Government funding lapsing could end up a pressure point that Republicans are hoping to use to get the bill done, according to The Times.

    The Senate Majority Leader Doesn’t Predict a Bill Focused Only on the Postal Service

    Mitch McConnell

    GettySenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    McConnell gave some clues to Republicans’ mindset in an interview with the Courier-Journal. For starters, he said it’s unlikely Republicans will pass a bill only focused on funding for the postal service like House Democrats may do.

    “I don’t think we’ll pass, in the Senate, a postal-only bill,” he told the newspaper.

    McConnell also told the newspaper that he hoped the postal funding issue of concern to Democrats could lead to them agreeing to a proposal on stimulus relief. He said the postal funding concerns “could open the opportunity for discussion about something smaller than what the speaker and the Democratic Senate leader were insisting on at the point of impasse.”

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