As some states throughout the U.S. combat a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, lawmakers will still have not reached an agreement on whether to pass another stimulus bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated that a bill was possible – but not a foregone conclusion. He did indicate the U.S. economy may need a final "boost."
If legislation comes to fruition, McConnell has said it would pass this month before lawmakers leave for recess in August.
One big problem could be reconciling the priorities of Republicans and Democrats. The Democratic-controlled House approved a $3 trillion proposal in May, which Senate Republicans deemed dead on arrival.
However, a source on Capitol Hill told Fox News that McConnell believes Republicans would sign onto another bill if he authors the terms, which would carry a substantially smaller price tag that the House proposal.
In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the measures that are under serious consideration:
The CARES Act called for the distribution of direct payments worth $1,200 to American households.
And a second round of economic impact payments is on the table.
President Trump told FOX Business he supports another round of stimulus checks, which could be even larger than $1,200.
However, not all Republicans are on the same page. The recent record-breaking June jobs report, which showed the creation of 4.8 million nonfarm payroll positions last month, has caused some lawmakers – like Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy – to question the need for more direct payments.
Payroll tax cut
Trump has repeatedly advocated for a payroll tax cut, a proposal he still appears to back, as a means to accelerate growth without adding to the federal deficit.
The payroll tax is paid separately from federal income taxes and funds Social Security and Medicare. Employers and employees each pay 6.2 percent for Social Security and 1.45 percent for Medicare, and an additional 0.9 percent is levied on the highest earners.
A suspension of the payroll tax could incentivize employers to hire more workers by reducing their payroll costs while giving employees a boost in their paychecks.
The administration reiterated Trump’s support for the measure as recently as last weekend.
It is unclear how popular it is among Republicans.
A major point of contention among Republicans and Democrats will likely be unemployment benefits.
Under the CARES Act, eligible Americans who are out of work entirely or underemployed because of reasons related to coronavirus can receive an additional $600 a week for up to four months. That expansion will expire at the end of July.
While Democrats favor continuing that proposal, Republicans have said it discourages individuals from seeking out new employment opportunities.
McConnell and administration officials have said, however, that supporting unemployed individuals should be a priority.
The administration has backed what it calls a “back to work bonus” as an alternative, which would provide an incentive for individuals to reenter the marketplace.
Liability protections for business
Both Trump and Republicans have called for including liability protections for businesses to shield them from lawsuits should employees or patrons contract coronavirus while working or attending their establishments.
That protection could also extend to schools.
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