- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the GOP’s coronavirus phrase three package Thursday afternoon.

“As our nation confronts this health crisis and the economic crisis it is spawning, Senate Republicans have prepared a bold legislative proposal,” the Kentucky Republican said. “We hope this bold new proposal will find a similar degree of bipartisan respect and mutual urgency on the other side of the aisle, and across the Capitol.”

In all, the phase three bill is expected to cost over $1 trillion.



In the four-part plan, Republicans aim to extend loans to small businesses, checks to the American public, major support to hard-hit industries and more funds to the overly strained healthcare system.

Under this proposal, the government would provide about $1,200 to Americans making up to $75,000. The handouts would then be scaled down between $75,000 and $99,000 and provide $500 per child.

The bill also delays the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15.

It includes a $230 billion loan plan for eligible small businesses to go towards payrolls and other operating expenses to help these companies stay afloat and keep their employees.

To aid the certain sectors of the economy devastated by the virus, the package includes $208 billion in loans. That figure breaks down to $50 billion for airlines, $8 billion for cargo air carriers and $150 billion for other eligible entities.

However, the Republican leadership still needs to get Democrats on board with its plan.

The group of senators Mr. McConnell tasked with crafting the legislation — leadership from four economic committees and the Senate’s health committee — are set to discuss the proposals with the Democrats on their panel.

“These are urgent discussions and they need to happen at a member level, starting now,” Mr. McConnell said.

Democrats, who still need to review the nearly 250-page bill, are putting their focuses on expanding benefits to workers — particularly paid leave and a “dramatic bolstering” unemployment insurance.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has called for a “Marshall plan” to shore up resources for the strained healthcare system.

However, while Democrats are supportive of aiding small business, Mr. Schumer said he was concerned about the proposal for aid to the hard-hit sectors of the economy.

“We don’t want these industries to go under, but we certainly don’t want the dollars that are put there to go to corporate executives or shareholders,” he said. “Our plan says no bailout that goes to people at the top.”

Senate leadership has vowed not to leave Congress until this third economic plan is passed.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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