GOP plan provides $1,200 in cash assistance amid coronavirus

A Senate GOP proposal for the third coronavirus package would provide $1,200 to Americans who make up to $75,000. 

The provision is included in a nearly 250-page bill unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans 13 things to know for today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday. 

Setting the details of the cash assistance was spearheaded by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyLawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. 

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“Preventing the spread of the coronavirus will take a financial toll on individuals, families and businesses,” Grassley said in a statement. 

Under the GOP plan the amount of cash assistance would scale down between $75,000 and $99,000, when it would be phased out. It would also provide an additional $500 per child. 

But a GOP summary of the bill, noted that individuals with little or no tax liability would receive roughly half—a minimum of $600. 

"Taxpayers with little or no income tax liability, but at least $2,500 of qualifying income, would be eligible for a minimum rebate check of $600 ($1,200 married). Qualifying income includes earned income, as well as Social Security retirement benefits and certain compensation and pension benefits paid to veterans. This ensures relief gets to low-income seniors and disabled veterans," the summary reads. 

The detail sparked quick calls for some GOP senators to "fix" the language, so that lower earners could receive the same $1,200 check. 

 
Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHawley unveils initiative to rehire workers laid off during coronavirus crisis, bolster domestic production Lawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE (R-Mo.) added that the Senate GOP bill "needs to be fixed."
 
"Relief to families in this emergency shouldn’t be regressive. Lower-income families shouldn’t be penalized," Hawley said. 

The decision to include the cash assistance comes despite fierce GOP pushback from certain Republican senators, who argued that it would not stimulate the broader economy.

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Some GOP senators wanted to instead expand unemployment insurance. 

“Here’s what I think. Direct payments make sense when the economy is beginning to start. It makes no sense now," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters after the lunch, adding that the number under discussion is "all over the board." 

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Coronavirus bill includes more than billion in SNAP funding MORE (R-Ala.) added that he believed the direct cash payments should be "as a supplement unemployment, not to the people that are still working every day, you know, just a blanket cash check to everybody in America that’s making up to $75,000.”

But the idea has picked up steam with Republicans and the Trump administration, with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBank executives sought guidance on small business loan program from Ivanka Trump: report Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Confusion surrounds launch of 9B in small-business loans MORE floating the idea of $1,000 checks to all Americans. 

Asked if he thought it would be in the bill despite the GOP opposition, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens GOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC GOP senator apologizes for tweet calling Pelosi 'retarded,' blames autocorrect MORE (R-N.D.) added, "I'd bet on it, if I was a betting person."   

—Updated at 10:07 p.m.