September 22, 2020
HEALS vs. CARES vs. Heroes acts: What's the difference between the stimulus packages?

HEALS vs. CARES vs. Heroes: What are the differences between the acts?


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CARES, HEALS, Heroes. Here’s what each stimulus package has to offer.


Angela Lang/CNET

Though talks aren’t expected to resume soon, Washington lawmakers still hope to pass a new economic relief package to address the recession happening amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

There’s a fundamental agreement from both sides of the aisle that a second stimulus check should be part of a final package for those who qualify, but a wide gulf remains when it comes to the overall amount of financial assistance, as well as some of the specific measures that should be included. Complicating matters are three memoranda and an executive order signed last weekend by President Donald Trump, an attempt to circumvent the furious debate and get his favored projects (such as slashing Social Security via the payroll tax) on the table.

“When commentators say to me, ‘Why can’t you resolve your difference?’ Because we are miles apart,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC.

Read on to learn how the current GOP-backed proposal (HEALS), the Democratic counterproposal (Heroes) and the bill that passed in March, the CARES Act, all stack up when compared. We update this story frequently.


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CARES vs. Heroes vs. HEALS Acts: What’s the difference?

CARES (from March) Heroes (Democratic) HEALS (Republican)
Total cost of stimulus package $2.2 trillion $3 trillion $1 trillion
Stimulus check maximum payment amount $1,200 to single filers earning under $75K per year, $2,400 for joint filers under $125K. Reduced $5 per $100 of income above limits. Same as CARES. Same as CARES.
How much stimulus money you get for dependents $500 for dependents, 16 and under. College students, 24 and under, are not eligible. $1,200 for dependents, maximum of three. $500 for dependents, no age limit.
Enhanced unemployment benefit $600 per week in addition to state benefits. Same as CARES. Initially $200 per week. Then up to $500 per week to match 70% of lost wages when added to state benefits.
How long enhanced unemployment lasts Expires July 31. January 2021 for most workers, through March 2021 for gig workers, independent contractors, part-time workers and self-employed. $200 per week bonus through September. Then 70% matching of lost wages. Extends expiration of federal benefits until Dec. 31.
Paycheck Protection Program Allocated $659 billion total in forgivable loans for small businesses, who must use 75% on payroll to be eligible for forgiveness. $130 billion remains, but expires Aug. 8. Expands eligibility, eliminates 75% payroll requirement and extends application period to Dec. 31. Injects another $190 billion into the PPP fund, expands eligibility and allows businesses to request a second loan. Eliminates 75% payroll requirement and expands approved uses of funds for loan forgiveness.
Employee tax credit Tax credit on 50% of up to $10,000 in wages. Increases tax credit to 80% of up to $15,000 in wages. Increases tax credit to 65% of up to $30,000.
Bonus for employees who start new jobs or are rehired Does not address. Does not address. There could be a return-to-work bonus of up to $450 per week for unemployed workers who secure a new job or are rehired.
Eviction protections and moratorium Bans late fees until July 25 and evictions until Aug. 24 on properties backed by federal mortgage programs (Fannie Mae, etc.) or that receive federal funds (HUD, etc.). Expands to cover nearly all rental properties in the US, extends eviction moratorium an additional 12 months, allocates $200 billion for housing programs and another $100 billion for rental assistance. Does not address.
School reopening Does not address. $58 billion for grades K-12, $42 billion for higher education. $70 billion to K-12 that open for in-person classes, $29 billion for higher education, $1 billion to the Bureau of Indian Education, $5 billion state discretion.
Liability protection from coronavirus illness Does not address. Does not address. 5 year liability shield to prevent schools, businesses, hospitals, from being sued over coronavirus-related issues.
Coronavirus testing Does not address. Does not address. $16 billion.



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