NORTH CAROLINA — Earlier this week, Republicans rolled out another stimulus package called the HEALS Act. It is currently a drafted proposal.
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (NC) said in a press release: “The draft proposal represents a starting point in the negotiations, and I’m glad it includes priorities I’ve championed to fund testing, support child care services, assist schools and keep students and teachers safe, and protect small businesses from trial lawyers. The next step in this process must be forging bipartisan consensus on key issues, including supplemental federal unemployment benefits and legal liability protections, which requires both parties to be pragmatic and focused on delivering solutions for the American people.”
Some of Tillis’ legislative priorities within the draft include: financial assistance for child care, $105 billion in financial assistance to keep students in school and provide resources for higher education ($70 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund); $29 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund; $1 billion for the Bureau of Indian Education and outlying areas, and; $5 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund, which provides flexible funding to Governors to be used for early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, or higher education, based on the needs of the state), Stockpiling medical supplies in case there is a public health emergency, COVID testing and distribution availability, in addition to helping frontline employees.
The HEALS act would “help essential businesses that have remained open to stay open, and help other businesses to reopen safely and without fear so that North Carolina workers can earn paychecks; assist schools, colleges, and universities with reopening in the fall so that students can resume their educations; encourage and protect workers who return to their jobs by rewarding compliance with coronavirus-related public health guidelines; provide uniformity and predictability for good actors, and; ensure that bad-faith actors are held accountable for coronavirus-related related injuries,” according to a press release from the senator’s office.
Finally, the act is projected to help small business owners. “The approximately 3.7 million [Paycheck Protection Program] loans of $150,000 or less account for 85% of all PPP approved loans but only 26% of the PPP funds delivered. The cost of applying for forgiveness for a PPP loan of this size is $2,000 for the small business and $500 for the lender. The proposal could save small businesses $7.4 billion.”