There has been a lot of speculation in the last month or so regarding a new stimulus package and if one will ever come into play. Congress previously passed the federal stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, to aid the families and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been some back and forth between Republicans and Democrats on what this new stimulus package should look like. This past week, the Republican members of the Senate presented their proposal for a second stimulus package. It is known as the HEALS Act (Health, Economic Assistance Liability Protection & Schools Act). The HEALS Act would address a handful of concerns, including the existence of a second stimulus check, unemployment benefits, and PPP loans.
This new stimulus package would be introduced through multiple bills:
$1,200 Stimulus Checks
This second check would have the same requirements as the first stimulus check. This would be a one-time, $1,200 check to those who qualified for the first:
- Individuals who make less than $75,000 will receive a $1,200 check
- Individuals who make up to $99,000 will receive a smaller check
- Married couples making under $150,000 will receive $2400 + an extra $500 per dependent child
- Married couples who make up to $198,000 will receive a smaller check
Democrats also agree on a second stimulus check but have called for more focus on funding dependents (up to three), and some even think a $1,200 check is still not enough. There are some Democrats who have even suggested $2,000-a-month stimulus checks.
The enhanced weekly benefit of $600 under the CARES Act for those who are receiving unemployment is expiring this week. Senate Republicans have proposed that moving forward, the unemployment benefits should be capped at 70% of wages and could amount to about $200 a week. This would mean that a recipient of unemployment benefits could receive federal unemployment benefits that are no more than 70% of the recipient’s income from their previous job.
Democrats, on the other hand, hope to extend the additional $600 of weekly unemployment benefits until at least January 2021. They argue that our economy is in a recession, for 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits and are in need of further financial relief.
The deadline for Payment Protection Program loan applications is currently August 8. The HEALS Act looks to extend this program, allowing a small business with 300 or fewer employees to receive a second loan if their revenue has declined 50% or more during this unprecedented time. Democrats agree that the PPP loan availability needs to be extended as well.
A bipartisan bill must pass Congress before this proposal lands on the President’s desk. The House of Representatives is in summer recess starting on July 31. If they do not delay the summer recess, the new stimulus could be delayed until after Labor Day.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and workplace/Title IX investigator in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, ABC, CBS, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela also is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California company that represents the gold standard in dispute resolution. She also owns her own law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in workplace and Title IX discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault investigations.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.