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Republican senators circulating new draft of potential COVID-19 stimulus package, reports say

Republican senators circulating new draft of potential COVID-19 stimulus package, reports say
Posted at 6:35 AM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 08:38:02-04

Senate Republicans have reportedly drafted a new version of a potential coronavirus stimulus package — but it's unlikely that the bill will be considered for at least a few weeks.

CNN and The New York Times reports that Republican Senators are discussing a stimulus package that would include extended federal unemployment benefits, cash for schools and even $10 billion in funding for the post office.

ABC News reports that the bill's total cost would be about $500 billion.

In terms of unemployment benefits, Republicans' proposed legislation would reportedly offer $300 a week — about half of the $600 benefits the federal government paid out between March and July.

Democrats have said they would like the $600 weekly benefits to be extended through the end of the year and expanded to self-employed workers and gig workers.

When the $600 CARES Act unemployment benefits expired in July, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to resume benefits at $400 a week, with the requirement that states pay a portion of those benefits. The order will likely remain in legal limbo for some time.

The New York Times reports that the Republicans' new stimulus package includes $10 billion in funding to USPS ahead of the 2020 election. With COVID-19 still spreading throughout the country, election officials are expecting a huge increase in voting by mail. Trump, a staunch opponent of universal voting by mail, has previously said he hoped to slow funding to USPS in order to prevent expanding mail-in voting in November.

On Tuesday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that the USPS would not institute operational changes that workers said would slow mail delivery until after the election.

According to CNN, Republicans are also proposing about $100 billion in funding to schools and another round of funding to the Paycheck Protection Program — a federal program that provides COVID-19 funding to small businesses.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed lawmakers for their annual summer break. He has not indicated if he would call the Senate back into session prior to early September when it's scheduled to reconvene.