KEY POINTS

  • The HEROES Act put together by House Democrats is aimed at keeping the economy from going under
  • Senate Republicans is expected to eventually support the new $3 trillion stimulus
  • Trump has also indicated his support

Senate Republicans still remain under intense pressure to move quickly and pass the $3 trillion HEROES Act delivered by House Democrats to their doorstep last May 15. HEROES will be the first thing on their agenda when they return to work on June 1.

The GOP is expected to ultimately approve HEROES -- with their amendments, of course -- and send it off for President Donald Trump to sign into law about mid-June.

Democrats won't get everything they want in this Democrat "Liberal wish list," the term used by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, to deride HEROES (the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or H.R. 6800).

But Republicans can't afford not to pass the bill since the very existence of HEROES -- which aims to keep the economy from crashing into a depression -- is fueling a strong and extended Wall Street rally that began the week of May 17. It's also stoking hopes the V-shaped economic recovery bandied about by Trump might actually be in play once again.

McConnell now says he’s open to negotiating with Senate Democrats. Trump has also mellowed his opposition to HEROES, and this week indicated his administration will support the bill.

“I think we will," said Trump about HEROES. "I think we’re going to be helping people out. We’re gonna be getting some money for them during the artificial -- cause it really is it’s an artificial closure -- and now we’re gonna be able to open it up."

This statement seems to rule out a presidential veto, for now at least.

For individual Americans, the provision of the HEROES Act that will make an immediate difference in their daily lives is a second direct payment (or a second stimulus check) of up to $1,200 for every individual. There will be an extra $1,200 per dependent up to a maximum of three.

US_State_Unemployment_IBT Seasonally adjusted state unemployment rates in the U.S. in March and April 2020. Photo: Statista / IBT

Each dependent will qualify for the $1,200 payment. The term, dependents, include college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and a taxpayer's parent.

More good news: households will qualify for a maximum total payment of $6,000 capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece. HEROES will also continue the current enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week until January 2021 on top of states' typical unemployment payout.

For businesses, HEROES will strengthen the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) that provides payroll assistance to small businesses. It will also expand the employee retention tax credit to help employers keep workers on payrolls.

HEROES will ease the fear among essential personnel they might be fired by setting aside $1 trillion for state and local governments to pay salaries for first responders, health care workers, teachers and other essential workers. The bill will also provide hazard pay for workers with high-risk jobs.

HEROES also has benefits for noncitizens. These people can qualify for a payment by using their individual taxpayer identification number. People that qualify in HEROES will receive retroactive payments from the first stimulus package called the CARES Act.

HEROES will also include $75 billion for expanded testing and contact tracing.