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HEALS vs. CARES vs. Heroes stimulus packages: Key differences between Republican and Democratic proposals

How will the first stimulus package and the next one differ from one another? We sort out which benefits you might actually get this time around.

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CARES, HEALS, Heroes. Here's what each stimulus package has to offer.

Angela Lang/CNET

In order to understand how far apart Republican and Democratic leaders remain on finalizing the next stimulus package, it's crucial to understand the differences between the GOP-backed HEALS Act proposal, the Democratic-supported Heroes Act and the March CARES Act, which authorized the first stimulus payment.

While there is agreement that a second stimulus payment for eligible Americans, who need help to stay afloat during the ongoing coronavirus recession, should be part of the final relief bill, there is still no consensus on the topic of enhanced unemployment benefits. The Republican HEALS Act proposes to slash enhanced jobless benefits from $600 per week (which expired on July 31) to $200, with Democratic leaders vehemently objecting to such a severe reduction.

Whatever the final decision, implementation is expected to be a challenge.

"Economists and labor market experts also warn that any solution that emerges from the negotiations would take weeks, if not months, to get up and running, risking a potentially catastrophic fiscal cliff for tens of millions of US households," The Hill reported Tuesday.

Below, we compare the HEALS, CARES and Heroes Acts to see the key similarities and differences. This story updates often.

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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 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.