WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Now that Republican Senators have finally unveiled their plans for the next round of coronavirus economic relief – the battle is on.
While the GOP proposal includes another round of direct payments for some Americans, it cuts the federal unemployment supplement from $600 per week to $200 per week.
It also provides liability protection for businesses that reopen, as well as money to help reopen schools.
But Democrats say the plan doesn’t do enough to help everyday Americans make ends meet and safely return to work and school.
“Republicans want to send thousands of dollars more to American families,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “If Democrats wont come to the table, they get nothing.”
McConnell, R-Kentucky, says the Republicans’ $1 trillion HEALS Act is the right solution for the country.
“Our nation stands at a challenging crossroads,” he added. “We have one foot in this pandemic and one foot in the recovery.”
The GOP plan would invest more than $100 billion into schools, help small businesses, and put cash directly into Americans’ hands.
The rescue package needs bipartisan support to pass the Senate, but Democrats say the plan isn’t bold enough to meet the moment.
“It’s not adequate for state and local government assistance. It’s not adequate on education,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.
Democrats take particular issue with the slash to federal unemployment benefits, according to Cardin.
“The extra funds have been desperately needed by American families,” he said.
“People can’t feed their kids, people are losing their homes, getting kicked out of their apartments, small businesses are going up,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York. “The Republican response? Let ’em eat cake.”
Schumer says the plan is too little, too late.
“We Democrats want a real bill that answers people’s needs,” he said. “That’s what were fighting for.”
McConnell maintains this is just a starting place for the negotiations.