House Democrats will force a vote Friday on a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill drafted largely without Republican input.
The more than 1,800-page bill is widely considered a Democratic opening shot to create pressure on the GOP-held Senate to negotiate a fifth large COVID-19 deal.
The so-called HEROES Act would be the largest COVID-19 bill — exceeding even the $2 trillion package that passed in late March.
Provisions include another round of direct payments of up to $1,200 per person — including for each dependent child — up to $6,000 per family, according to a Democratic fact sheet.
The bill also proposes extending the $600-per-week federal boost in unemployment insurance payments through January 2021. The boost — intended to ensure laid off and furloughed workers get roughly 100 percent of their pre-crisis pay — currently runs through July.
The Democratic fact sheet says the bill includes about $1 trillion for state and local governments. Republicans including President Trump have been wary of state bailouts.
The bill would create a $200 billion “heroes fund” giving hazard pay to medical workers and appropriate $75 billion for virus testing and contact tracing.
A $175 billion allocation would help cover mortgage and rent payments.
Additional items include a 15 percent boost in maximum food stamps payments, and more money for Census, elections, health insurance, and Postal Service operations.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a notice that the House will consider the bill at 9 am on Friday, along with a rules change to allow lawmakers to work remotely.
A fourth large coronavirus relief bill passed the House in April to expand small-business loans and give funds for hospitals and testing.
Unlike prior coronavirus bills, the HEROES Act wasn’t the result of laborious bipartisan negotiations, meaning its provisions are almost certain to get a substantial rewrite before becoming law.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told MSNBC on Tuesday that the bill was intentionally ambitious.
“We have a big need. It’s monumental,” Pelosi said. “And therefore, it’s a great opportunity to say: let’s work together to get this done. There’s a way to open the economy based on science, testing, testing, testing and let’s get on with it. That’s what we’re here to do.”
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a webcast he’s reluctant to pass another massive bill.
“We now have a debt the size of our economy,” McConnell said. “So I’ve said, and the president has said as well, that we have to take a pause here and take a look at what we’ve done.”