$200 unemployment aid, 2nd stimulus check proposed

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a new coronavirus relief plan that was made possible after Senate Republican leaders and the White House appeared to overcome their differences. (ABC News photo)

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have introduced a new coronavirus relief package totaling $1 trillion.

The new Senate bill introduced Monday comes after the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) expires this week in the states. The FPUC already expired last week on Guam and last weekend was the final issuance of the $600 unemployment assistance for unemployed or under-employed Guamanians.

Although the new Republican package seeks to continue the FPUC, it reduces the amount from $600 a week to just $200 a week.

Gov, Lou Leon Guerrero, in an interview with K57’s Patti Arroyo Tuesday morning, said the $200 figure is still not final and that there are various amounts being proposed, including the Democrats’ own HEROES Act which extends the $600 FPUC.

But even if the FPC drops to $200, the governor said this is still a significant amount.

“Two hundred dollars a week is $800 a month. It’s $800 more than what one would have if there was no FPUC. People might think that that’s not very much. I think it’s not enough either. But it’s something. The feds are also looking at another economic stimulus program,” the governor said.

The Republican proposal provides for another round of stimulus checks that will max out at $1,200 per person, just like the first stimulus check. This time, the proposed stimulus checks will include child dependents who were skipped the first time around.

The Republican coronavirus relief proposals comes under Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act announced Monday in the Senate. The GOP Senate bill would also provide $105 billion for schools, $70 billion of which would go to K-12 institutions with more going to schools that reopen. It would give $16 billion more for virus testing and tracing and provide another round of popular stimulus checks.

In addition, the GOP would also include a second, more targeted round of forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and it would provide tax credits for businesses to help with rehiring and reopening.

Aside from the FPUC, Gov. Leon Guerrero said the unemployment insurance will also continue until December of this year and that, coupled, with a new FPUC, would help Guam residents struggling through unemployment.

Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation director Dafne Shimizu had said that if there’s another round of stimulus checks, DRT is prepared and would most likely use the process used during the distribution of the first stimulus check earlier this year.

The Republicans in the Senate, however, will still have to hammer out a deal with the House Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is proposing a far more generous coronavirus relief package, including the continuation of the $600 FPUC.

According to Congressman Michael San Nicolas, what will happen now is that both chambers of Congress are going to have to form a conference committee and negotiate what the final bill is going to look like.

San Nicolas said in his latest Facebook update that Guam is included in both packages but the two have some very key differences, including the $600 FPUC allotment, which the Republicans want whittled down to $200 a week.

“I predict that there is going to be intense negotiations ahead,” San Nicolas said.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that renewing the $600 FPUC won’t happen because that amount serves as a disincentive for people to go back to work since they would get more money being unemployed.

“Hopefully in the next two to three weeks we’ll be able to come together and pass something that we can send over to the House and down to the president for signature,” McConnell told ABC News.

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