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U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy talks about proposed HEALS Act



MONROE, La. – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R) spoke about the Senate’s proposed HEALS Act for COVID-19 relief.

“We can acknowledge that this is the beginning of negotiations, and I would like to see more money for state and local government,” he said.

According to Cassidy, the act would include $16 billion in additional testing. For education, it would include $70 billion for K-12, $29 billion for higher education, and $5 billion for flexible spending for governors.

The act proposes $200 a week in federal unemployment benefits until October. It would then be replaced with a payment of up to $500 which, when combined with the state payment, would equal 70% of lost wages.

Cassidy offered the idea of extending the $600 of federal unemployment until states adjust to payments based on the percentage of lost wages.

He thinks unemployment benefits need to continue, but they need to be tailored to the economy’s progress.

“If there’s no jobs, it’s one thing. But if jobs are recovering, it’s another. So to say, at a point in time, this is where it should be six months from now, is really a difficult statement. Ideally, our economy is re-open in two months and people are returning to work, and this is not necessary.”

Under the original CARES Act, people received an additional $500 for dependants under the age of 17. The HEALS Act would give that additional relief regardless of the dependant’s age, in addition to the $1200 stimulus checks.

If people are still having trouble making rent or any other bills, Cassidy said that would be something they would look into.

“But again, the purpose of the stimulus check, and the purpose of the enhanced unemployment is that people can continue to make their bills. But again, if something more is needed, we’ll look at that as well.”