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 McConnellOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday. 

Setting the details of the cash assistance was spearheaded by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high 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. 

"The current bill has promise but it shouldn’t give lower earners smaller checks —that’s directly contrary to my proposal. We need to fix this to ensure lower earners get equal payments," Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Trump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions MORE (R-Utah) tweeted on Thursday night. 
 
Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead 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 GrahamRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes Democrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters after the lunch, adding that the number under discussion is "all over the board." 

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS 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 MnuchinOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' US Chamber asks Treasury to clear up 'serious concerns' about payroll tax deferral Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate 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 CramerDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks MORE (R-N.D.) added, "I'd bet on it, if I was a betting person."   

—Updated at 10:07 p.m.