Federal Spotlight: U.S. Senate Unveils the HEALS Act
July 30, 2020
The HEALS Act is the Senate’s version of legislation necessary to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $1 trillion Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act was introduced on July 27 as a counter to the $3 trillion U.S. House of Representatives HEROES Act. With legislative proposals in both chambers, negotiations will begin immediately and are expected to last days, if not weeks. Important Senate HEALS Act features include:
- Liability Protections for Businesses: Businesses of all sizes are protected, and those located in states with stronger liability protections will retain those protections in addition to these new federal protections.
- Unemployment Insurance: Continues to provide workers with additional federal unemployment assistance on top of their traditional state unemployment benefits, but decreases the additional federal amount to $200 per week from the current $600.
- Stimulus Checks: Authorizes a second round of income tax rebate checks. Certain provisions remain the same as the CARES Act payments–$1,200 for individuals/$2,400 for married couples.
- Back to Work Child Care Grants: Authorizes short-term assistance to help child care providers reopen and stay open so that parents have a safe place to send their children when they return to work. Allows states to build out programs to help child care providers reopen and maintain operations for nine months. The proposal also includes $10 billion in funding for this program and an additional $5 billion for child care direct support via block grants.
Negotiations between the House and Senate are being tracked by ABI staff, and as consensus forms, details will be made available to ABI members. With questions or for additional detail, please contact JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf.