Schumer proposes $350B in aid to communities of color ahead of coronavirus talks

Senate Democrats released a new $350 billion proposal Thursday to invest in communities of color suffering amid the pandemic, their latest marker as Congress gets ready to negotiate the next and potentially final coronavirus package.

The proposal, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, comes as minorities have been disproportionately hit by the coronavirus. It would provide $135 billion for child care, community health care and job training, along with $215 billion for infrastructure, expanding Medicaid and providing a tax credit for homeowners and renters.

"Long before the pandemic, long before this recession, long before this year’s protests, structural inequalities have persisted in health care and housing, the economy and education,” Schumer said in a statement. “Covid-19 has only magnified these injustices and we must confront them with lasting, meaningful solutions.”

The Democratic proposal would in part be funded by using $200 billion of unspent money from March’s $2 trillion CARES Act.

The Senate is set to return to Washington next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to soon unveil a roughly $1 trillion GOP proposal that will prioritize liability protection, health care, jobs and children returning to school. Senate Democrats for weeks have been pushing Republicans to take up the House’s $3 trillion relief package that passed in mid-May, which the GOP has chided as a Democratic wish list.

With only a few weeks until August recess, Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on key issues, including whether to extend boosted unemployment benefits and provide money for state and local government. Congressional leaders in both parties, however, are signaling they’re confident a deal can be reached.

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