July 23, 2020

Republican COVID Relief Plan Doesn’t Rise to the Moment

news release

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Following is a statement by Amy Hanauer, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), regarding the pending Republican plan for phase IV COVID-19 relief. Details are emerging about the plan, which Senate leadership has not formally released.

“Republicans are struggling to agree on the next round of COVID relief legislation. They’ve axed the payroll tax cut that President Trump was pleading for–as they should have: ITEP’s analysis found that nearly a quarter of the benefits of that proposal would go to the richest 1 percent.

“But Senate Republicans are omitting the most essential components, including federal relief to state and local governments. And they propose to shrink unemployment benefits and throw in unnecessary breaks for business. Lawmakers would be better off using the HEROES Act, passed by the House in May as a starting point. The bill includes the necessary federal fiscal relief to states and localities, preserves the unemployment compensation expansions that have done more than anything else to keep the economy afloat amid staggering job loss, and provides more inclusive cash payments that would help families now without the inequities of the CARES Act cash payments. It also invests in much of what the country needs on testing, health infrastructure, hazard pay and more.

“The HEROES Act is not perfect. For example, it lifts the cap on deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), which benefits high-income households most. But the HEROES Act succeeds where the GOP proposals fail in almost every imaginable way. In an op-ed in The Hill this morning, ITEP lays out other approaches for lawmakers to advance solutions that the country needs right now.”