Blunt discusses U.S. Senate GOP’s $1 trillion HEALS Act

(MONet) U.S. Senate Republicans have unveiled a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package. The HEALS Act includes $200 per week in unemployment benefits, more than $100 billion for schools, more funding for the small business Paycheck Protection Program and a liability shield to protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

The plan would also give another $1,200 stimulus payment with similar eligibility requirements as the last one. Qualifying individuals earning a gross adjusted income up to $75,000 per year in 2019, and couples earning $150,000, would get the full $1,200 or $2,400. Individuals would also receive $500 for each dependent, just like under the CARES Act.

During a press conference in Washington, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, says the plan would provide $16 billion to help states cover COVID-19 testing.

“Our priority to help with testing through the states is to put a priority on elementary and secondary education, on higher education, on nursing homes and childcare facilities,” says Blunt.

Blunt says the package would give $15 billion to the nation’s childcare providers.

“As people get back to work, some people don’t want to send their kids. There will be some childcare expenses of distancing and other things that have to be done, but you can’t get back to work if you can’t get back to childcare for most families. And if you’re a working parent, particularly if you’re a working single parent, your biggest single problem is being sure that that childcare situation works,” says Blunt.

Congressional Democratic leaders say the bill should include hazard pay for essential workers, provide additional funding for food stamps and address the eviction crisis, among other things.

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