COVID-19 Skinny Bill: When Will Congress Vote On The Next Stimulus Package?

Getty House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

What’s the latest on the GOP’s ‘skinny’ bill, which was unveiled on Tuesday?

The estimated $300 billion proposal is expected to be voted on this Thursday.

Democrats are already poised to dismiss the legislation. Even before its release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it an “emaciated bill” with “poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support,” according to USA Today.

Pelosi continued, “As they scramble to make up for this historic mistake, Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere… This emaciated bill is only intended to help vulnerable Republican Senators by giving them a ‘check the box’ vote to maintain the appearance that they’re not held hostage by their extreme right-wing that doesn’t want to spend a nickel to help people.”

The proposal would need 51 votes in the Senate to move forward. And even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledges the bill is not perfect. “It does not contain every idea our party likes. Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation.”

Here’s what else you need to know:

What Does It Include?

As it stands, the bill includes a $300 weekly federal unemployment boost through the week ending in December 27 and expands the Paycheck Protection Program by allowing certain businesses to receive a second forgivable PPP loan, according to Forbes.

In addition, the proposal includes liability protections for businesses, hospitals, churches and schools, and a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service would be turned into a grant, writes USA Today.

It does, however, leave out details that many Democrats view as essential, such as aid to state and local governments, and another round of stimulus checks for struggling Americans, according to USA Today.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was quick to denounce the bill before its unveiling. In a letter written to Democrats last week, Schumer wrote, “Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people,” according to Forbes.

“If You Want to Draft a Bill That Is Certain to Fail, This Is It’

Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Schumer said of the ‘skinny’ bill, “… if you want to draft a bill that is certain to fail, this is it.”

A sticking point when it comes to the new bill is the fact that it does not include an additional stimulus check. Both the HEROES Act, which was passed in May, and the HEALS Act, which was introduced in July, included a second round of stimulus checks, and in the words of CNBC, this was “considered one of the less controversial aspects of the next relief bill.”

On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the lead negotiator for the Trump administration, said it’s possible a deal on an economic relief package may never be reached, according to Politico.

“I don’t know,” Mnuchin said when asked about a stimulus package. “We’ll see. I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there.”

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