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New Coronavirus Relief Proposals From Treasury, House Include Billions For Restaurants

Though Republicans and Democrats remain "far apart" on a coronavirus relief package, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both sides' proposals include much-needed assistance for restaurants and renters.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi met multiple times on Thursday to discuss the White House's newest proposed aid package worth $1.6 trillion, but no deal was reached, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin prepares to address the press outside the White House on March 13, 2020.

After Pelosi's comments regarding the gulf between the two parties' positions, she convened the House of Representatives for a vote on a revised Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act worth $2.2 trillion, CBS News reports. The bill passed by a measure of 214-207, with 18 Democrats voting against it.

Mnuchin's proposal, which White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany confirmed was an official offer, is an incremental increase over the previous proposal that President Donald Trump's executive branch supported, worth $1.5 trillion. The new Treasury plan would dedicate $120B to support restaurants, entertainment venues and hotels, which had been pleading for assistance since the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed in the spring. 

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the revised HEROES Act and its $2.2 trillion price tag "outlandish" Thursday evening, likely dooming the bill to fail in the Senate, CBS reports. The House bill included $120B specifically for restaurants and $10B for performance venues, but made no mention of hotels.

Both sides included a provision for rental assistance in their respective proposals, with Mnuchin offering $60B combined for rental and mortgage assistance and the House offering $50B for renters, $20B for mortgage assistance, $4B directly for residents of public housing, $5B in homeless assistance and over $1.2B for project-based housing and apartments for the elderly and AIDS patients. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, posing at the U.S. Capitol in June 2020.

Rental assistance has been championed by landlords and tenants alike as necessary to prevent an eviction crisis once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's moratorium expires at the end of the year. Neither side included any forgiveness for the staggering CMBS market, where defaults have spiked and borrowers have begged for a bailout.

Both sides' proposals also included a second round of checks to be mailed directly to households, as well as a renewal of weekly unemployment payments (though Mnuchin proposed $400 per week and Pelosi proposed a return to the $600 per week program that expired in July).

One of the biggest divides between the two proposals is the amount of money that would be distributed to state and local governments, which are facing an impending budget crisis. The Treasury plan would dedicate $250B, while the House plan would dedicate over $400B.

Despite the considerable overlap between plans, McEnany said that Pelosi "was not being serious" in her negotiations with Mnuchin. It is unclear if the Senate would even support Mnuchin's plan, which he said was under direction from Trump to grow in budget. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) told the WSJ on Thursday that he believed that Mnuchin may have "out-negotiated his majority."