Senate Republicans yesterday introduced their latest pandemic relief bill, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, which includes another round of stimulus checks for individuals and more loans for small businesses, but whether any proposed moratoriums on debt collection activities is to be included will have to wait until the official text of the bill is released.
It does appear, though, that the latest round of stimulus checks will be protected from garnishments right out of the gate, according to a published report. The stimulus checks that were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were not specifically exempted, a protection that Congress is seeking to rectify.
Adults would receive an additional $1,200 each under the HEALS Act, and dependents would receive $500 each. Individuals who lose their job would be eligible to receive additional unemployment benefits, but it would likely fall below the $600 extra that unemployed workers received as part of the CARES Act.
The bill also includes more money for the Paycheck Protection Program, an employee retention tax credit, a return-to-work bonus of $450 for unemployed individuals who go back to their jobs, rental assistance to keep individuals from being evicted, and a payroll tax cut.
“So we have one foot in the pandemic and one foot in the recovery,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] said yesterday during a speech on the Senate floor. “The American people need more help. They need it to be comprehensive. And they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroads.”