COVID-19

Where does Congress stand on another COVID-19 relief package?

Sabri Ben-Achour, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Jul 20, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Senate Republicans are expected to roll out another coronavirus relief package proposal this week. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Where does Congress stand on another COVID-19 relief package?

Sabri Ben-Achour, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Jul 20, 2020
Senate Republicans are expected to roll out another coronavirus relief package proposal this week. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
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Senate Republicans are expected to roll out another COVID-19 relief package proposal this week. The House has already passed a new $3 trillion relief bill.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer is following this news. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour.

Sabri Ben-Achour: What’s on the table here?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: The Senate bill will probably have a smaller price tag, probably around $1 trillion. Senate Republicans are also expected to insist on some liability protections for businesses to protect them from lawsuits if workers or customers get COVID-19 and blame the business owner. President Trump also says he wants the legislation to include a payroll tax cut.

Ben-Achour: And what about the extra $600 a week in unemployment payments workers are now getting?

Marshall-Genzer: That’s a big stumbling block. It’s scheduled to expire at the end of this month. Democrats want it to continue, maybe for the next six months. But Republican leaders say some people are making more money from unemployment than when they were working. They see the $600 as a disincentive to return to work. Democrats say there aren’t enough jobs for all of the unemployed workers right now, and if the extra money were cut, it would cause great financial hardship.

Ben-Achour: Are there any compromises on the horizon there?

Marshall-Genzer: Possibly. Republicans might be willing to continue with a smaller unemployment subsidy. There’s also talk about giving people who return to work a bonus. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said any new subsidy would be no more than 100% of a person’s lost wages.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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