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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

Senate Republicans Release HEALS Act – COVID-19 Stimulus Package

July 31, 2020

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Republican version of a fourth COVID-19 package (or as some say, a second round of a CARES Act stimulus bill). The bill, titled the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act is actually a collection of bills. Highlights include another round of $1200 stimulus checks for individuals, extension of enhanced, but smaller, unemployment payments, continuation of PPP, liability protections, funding for schools, and a freeze on Medicare Part B premiums for 2021 at 2020 levels. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has strongly pushed for national liability protections, with an exception for gross negligence, to help facilitate reactivation of the economy. The Utah legislature passed state-based protections during special session.

The $ 1 trillion Senate Republican bill is more targeted than the $3 trillion HEROES Act passed by House Democrats in May, setting the stage for some very contentious negotiations. As of this writing, discussions between the House, Senate, and White House have yet to produce an agreement. As reported by Forbes, “Negotiations are expected to continue into August, leaving aid up in the air, as many protections passed in the CARES Act time out at the end of this week.” The additional $600 in unemployment benefits expires July 31. The deadline for PPP applications is August 8.