The CARES Act passed in March has laid the groundwork for two more proposals from the Democrats and Republicans.

Angela Lang/CNET

On Thursday night, the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to approve the revised Heroes Act 2.0 stimulus bill, much as it did the first Heroes Act in May. What does that entail? Good question.

The first thing to know is that the revised Heroes Act is not law. But it does shine a light on the direction that stimulus check negotiations — which are still ongoing, despite the vote and President Donald Trump’s disclosure that he has tested positive for COVID-19 — are headed.

The new coronavirus economic relief legislation keeps many of the benefits of the original Heroes Act, like a second stimulus check of up to $1,200 for eligible Americans and a continuation of the $600 unemployment enhancement, but it reduces some of the previously proposed allocations for other provisions such as the paycheck protection program and employee tax credit. (See the breakdown below.)

Most analysts see the vote as largely symbolic with little chance of becoming law, but both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have reportedly agreed to continue talks on a possible compromise. With the White House suggesting a $1.6 trillion stimulus deal and Senate Republicans flinching at anything above the $1 trillion proposed in its most recent “skinny” bill (PDF), the House’s $2.2 trillion plan will likely have trouble garnering bipartisan support as it stands.

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


If nothing else, however, the House’s new proposal does seem to represent a step closer to compromise as the window for a possible stimulus deal narrows. With Congress scheduled to go on recess starting Oct. 9, legislators have less than two weeks to iron out an agreement before the Nov. 3 general election

Negotiators must agree on the cost of a final package, and that figure will determine where aid is directed (and how much each project might get). Here we dig into the key aspects of each proposal, showing how they’re similar, and exploring the differences that keep them from moving forward. We update this story regularly.

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

CARES (Signed into law March 27)

HEROES 2.0 (Passed House Oct. 1)

Heroes (Passed House May 15)

HEALS (Introduced by Senate July 27)
Total cost of stimulus package $2.2 trillion $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. Same as CARES.
How much stimulus money you get for dependents $500 for all dependents 16 and under. College students 24 and under are not eligible. $500 for all dependents, no age limit. $1,200 for dependents, maximum of three. $500 for all dependents, no age limit.
Enhanced unemployment benefit $600 per week in addition to state benefits. Same as CARES. 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. Until Jan. 31, 2021, with a transition period extending until March 31, 2020. Allocates $925 million to help states process claims. 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. Allocates over $30 billion, additional. Allows second loans to small businesses with fewer than 200 employees that have experienced a 25% reduction in quarterly revenue. Excludes publicly traded firms from eligibility for second loans. Puts limits on businesses with more than one physical location. Streamlines forgiveness process. 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. Enhances tax credit established in CARES Act. 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. 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.) $59.1 billion allocated for rent relief and other housing services. (Eviction moratorium already established by CDC order.) 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 reopenings Does not address. $182 billion for K-12, $39 billion for higher education, $57 billion for childcare. $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 Bureau of Indian Education, $5 billion state discretion.
Liability protection from coronavirus illness Does not address. Does not address. Does not address. 5 year liability shield to prevent schools, businesses, hospitals, from being sued over coronavirus related issues.
Coronavirus testing, tracing and treatment Does not address. $75 billion. Does not address. $16 billion.

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