After some delays, Senate Republicans on Monday introduced legislation, the HEALS Act, aimed at bolstering the economy and bringing relief to those affected by COVID-19.
The $1 trillion spending bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said on the Senate floor, “I hope this strong proposal will occasion a real response, not partisan cheap shots. Not the predictable, tired old rhetoric as though these were ordinary times, and the nation could afford ordinary politics.”
Democrats were quick to decry the proposed legislation, especially over slashing the unemployment amount from an additional $600 a week to $200 — or 70 percent of the wages a worker made while employed.
$16 billion was set aside for contact tracing and virus testing and $105 billion for schools — $70 billion of which would go to K-12 institutions.
The bill also offers another round of forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and aims to direct $1.75 billion toward a new FBI headquarters.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans had been “wasting precious time” ever since the last relief package was passed, saying the House and Senate could have had something on President Donald Trump‘s desk much sooner, but didn’t because “the White House and Senate Republicans couldn’t get their act together.”
“Ten weeks after Democrats passed a comprehensive bill through the House, Senate Republicans couldn’t even agree on what to throw in on the wall,” He alleged.
Some Senate Republicans were uncomfortable over this latest spending packages, such as Senator Ted Cruz who warned that “our deficits and debt are spiraling out of control” and that “the focus of this legislation is wrong.”
Some GOP Senators also expressed they may vote against the bill. It could take weeks of negotiating before a new spending package is sent to the president.