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2020 stimulus package: How will a new one stack up to the last one?

Another economic relief package could look like the original CARES Act, or a combination of the Republican HEALS Act and the Democratic Heroes Act. Here's what we could expect when discussions continue in Washington, DC this week.

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The CARES Act passed in March has laid the groundwork for two more proposals from the Democrats and Republicans.

Angela Lang/CNET

Though Congressional leaders remain at an impasse on the next economic relief package, the Republican-led Senate will return this week to vote on a "skinny" coronavirus relief bill that includes some parts of the Republican HEALS Act and the Democratic Heroes Act, including funding for the USPS and $300 in weekly unemployment benefits. However, the bill does not include a second stimulus check for eligible Americans, as the March CARES Act did. Another direct payment could still happen at a later date, as an independent bill, as part of another package or through an executive action.

Both the HEALS Act and the Heroes Act proposals (which are not law) include money for a second stimulus check of up to $1,200. But they differ by a couple trillion dollars on other measures to include for economic relief. The Senate's "skinny" bill, called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (PDF), could restart negotiations on other, smaller stimulus relief bills that include other pieces of each of these proposals. It isn't expected to clear the House.

The HEALS Act and Heroes Act are based on the CARES Act, the original coronavirus relief package passed in March. Negotiators must agree on the cost of a final package, and that figure will determine where aid is directed (and how much each project might get). Here we dig into the key aspects of each proposal, showing how they're similar, and exploring the differences that keep them from moving forward. We update this story regularly.

CARES vs. Heroes vs. HEALS Acts: What's the difference?


CARES (from March) Heroes (Democratic) HEALS (Republican)
Total cost of stimulus package $2.2 trillion $3 trillion $1 trillion
Stimulus check maximum payment amount $1,200 to single filers earning under $75K per year, $2,400 for joint filers under $125K. Reduced $5 per $100 of income above limits. Same as CARES. Same as CARES.
How much stimulus money you get for dependents $500 for dependents, 16 and under. College students, 24 and under, are not eligible. $1,200 for dependents, maximum of three. $500 for dependents, no age limit.
Enhanced unemployment benefit $600 per week in addition to state benefits. Same as CARES. Initially $200 per week. Then up to $500 per week to match 70% of lost wages when added to state benefits.
How long enhanced unemployment lasts Expires July 31. January 2021 for most workers, through March 2021 for gig workers, independent contractors, part-time workers and self-employed. $200 per week bonus through September. Then 70% matching of lost wages. Extends expiration of federal benefits until Dec. 31.
Paycheck Protection Program Allocated $659 billion total in forgivable loans for small businesses, who must use 75% on payroll to be eligible for forgiveness. $130 billion remains, but expires Aug. 8. Expands eligibility, eliminates 75% payroll requirement and extends application period to Dec. 31. Injects another $190 billion into the PPP fund, expands eligibility and allows businesses to request a second loan. Eliminates 75% payroll requirement and expands approved uses of funds for loan forgiveness.
Employee tax credit Tax credit on 50% of up to $10,000 in wages. Increases tax credit to 80% of up to $15,000 in wages. Increases tax credit to 65% of up to $30,000.
Bonus for employees who start new jobs or are rehired Does not address. Does not address. There could be a return-to-work bonus of up to $450 per week for unemployed workers who secure a new job or are rehired.
Eviction protections and moratorium Bans late fees until July 25 and evictions until Aug. 24 on properties backed by federal mortgage programs (Fannie Mae, etc.) or that receive federal funds (HUD, etc.). Expands to cover nearly all rental properties in the US, extends eviction moratorium an additional 12 months, allocates $200 billion for housing programs and another $100 billion for rental assistance. Does not address.
School reopening Does not address. $58 billion for grades K-12, $42 billion for higher education. $70 billion to K-12 that open for in-person classes, $29 billion for higher education, $1 billion to the Bureau of Indian Education, $5 billion state discretion.
Liability protection from coronavirus illness Does not address. Does not address. 5 year liability shield to prevent schools, businesses, hospitals, from being sued over coronavirus-related issues.
Coronavirus testing Does not address. Does not address. $16 billion.
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