On Friday, Donald Trump tweeted an update on the COVID-19 relief bill currently being negotiated in the Senate, an update that millions of Americans are desperately waiting for as unemployment insurance is being cut, rent moratoriums are ending, and unemployment rates continue to be in the double digits, with 51 million Americans out of work.
That update was neither good news nor welcome.
Trump and his GOP allies have pushed a narrative that Democrats are holding up negotiations, although Democrats passed a bill for a second stimulus package three months ago and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never brought it to the Senate for a vote. Now that the bill is needed more critically than ever, the two sides seem far from reaching an agreement.
There are a number of ways that the Democrat-supported and the Republican-supported bills differ.
According to USA Today:
‘The Democratic-led House has passed the HEROES Act, a roughly $3.4 trillion bill that would provide a second round of direct payments to millions of Americans, provide nearly $1 trillion to revenue-strapped states and local governments, and provide billions for housing and food assistance.
‘The Republican-controlled Senate has introduced its counter-proposal, the HEALS Act, a $1.1 trillion package that also includes direct payments but no federal aid for housing, food or state and local governments. It has yet to pass the chamber.’
The two bills differ first on unemployment assistance. The additional $600 per week that Americans unemployed due to the coronavirus have been receiving, money that has kept the economy afloat during the country’s descent into a recession, ended on August 1. Democrats want to extend those payments through the end of the year. Republicans want to cut that additional assistance to $200 a week for the next two months and then give only 70 percent of a workers’ average pay until January.
Both sides want to give direct payments to Americans again, but the amounts differ vastly between the two parties.
While it’s true that Democrats have pushed for aid to states that need to provide other forms of relief to their residents, Americans in the United States do happen to live in…well, states. There is no disagreement between the two parties regarding amounts of aid, Republicans are refusing to give states any money to help their residents during this crisis. Trump argues that blue states, those with higher populations, would get too much money when they’ve handled their states’ economies badly, but even if that were true, why does the president think that those Americans should suffer for it?
Additionally, Republicans want no funding to go into housing relief as moratoriums end. Although rent moratoriums kept people from being evicted, those rent payments did not stop accruing, and the threat of mass homelessness is yet another layer to this COVID-19 crisis. Housing is an essential piece of protecting American citizens during the coronavirus, but one side disagrees.
Twitter wasn’t buying Trump’s excuses, and neither should anyone else. Read some of their comments below:
Featured image screenshot via YouTube