New Coronavirus Rescue Bill Is In the Works

Kevin Drum

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Coronavirus rescue 4.0 is already in the negotiation phase:

Rather than indulging Trump’s insistence on a payroll tax cut, GOP senators have instead shifted their focus to liability protections for businesses, demanding that they be protected from what Republicans view are frivolous lawsuits as private employers try to reopen their doors in the coming weeks. Top Democrats have said they will oppose such sweeping protections, on which Republicans are insisting in exchange for another massive infusion of state and local aid.

The standoff shows no immediate signs of abating, as House Democrats assemble a massive new rescue package expected to exceed $2 trillion that would include around a $1 trillion commitment for states, cities and municipalities. Money is being eyed for a large array of other provisions including housing, social services, law enforcement, tribal government needs, food security, the Postal Service, rural broadband, rent and mortgage relief, as well as veterans issues.

Democrats have also discussed another round of checks to Americans and another extension of unemployment insurance, and are keeping an eye on the Paycheck Protection Program and a separate small-business emergency loan and grant program to see whether supplemental funding will be needed.

This is totally normal. Republicans would typically be in favor of a tax cut, but a payroll tax cut wouldn’t help the rich very much so they’re against it. The only thing that’s really on their agenda is protection for businesses from lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Democrats are interested solely in measures that help ordinary people: state and local bailouts, housing, food, unemployment insurance, etc. This is exactly how Coronavirus 3.0 went. It’s amazing how candid Republicans are about caring only for business bailouts and letting Democrats worry about regular people. All things considered, I suppose this is for the best, since Republicans would just muck things up if they pretended to be interested in helping people. Might as well leave it to the folks who actually do care.

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