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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled on Monday a sweeping counterproposal to Senate Republicans' $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

Why it matters: House Democrats' legislation — which comes with a $2.5 trillion price tag — comes after negotiations between Capitol Hill leaders and the White House broke down over the weekend, culminating in two failed procedural votes that have left the Senate Republicans' bill in limbo.

The state of play: Democrats, who have asserted that the Senate GOP bill is a corporate slush fund that doesn't do enough to help American workers, are hoping that the release of this bill will give them more leverage in negotiations with Republicans.

  • But Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics during a national crisis by stalling action on their bill, calling this latest measure a "Democratic wish list" — as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell characterized it.

The "Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act":

  • Increases the amount of money being offered to individuals to $1,500, and up to $7,500 for a family of five. The same GOP income thresholds in the GOP bill would apply — $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples, but the benefit would be available to anyone with an individual taxpayer identification number, retirees and unemployed individuals.
  • Waives $10,000 in federal student loan payments.
  • Dedicate $4 billion in grant funding to help states with upcoming elections and nationally mandates 15 days of early voting and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail, including mailing a ballot to all registered voters in an emergency.
  • Includes a section that would cancel several executive orders and presidential memorandums that Democrats argue have weakened public sector unions' ability to engage in collective bargaining.
  • Creates new carbon offset guidelines for airlines, with a long-term goal of reducing jet fuel emissions by 50% by 2050. 
  • Allocates $150 billion to support hospitals, local health centers and government-funded medical programs, with an additional $80 billion in low-interest loans to hospitals.
  • Eliminates cost-sharing for coronavirus treatments and vaccines for all patients, including the uninsured.
  • Addresses broader health care concerns that Democrats have pushed for months, including increasing subsidies on the individual market and creating new incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
  • Provides child care assistance to health care workers and emergency personnel.
  • Would temporarily provide $600 per week to unemployed workers affected by the coronavirus. Self-employed workers, Americans whose contracts were canceled, and new entrants to the job market would also be eligible.
  • Expands paid sick leave and family medical leave, as well as gives more money to food-safety benefits.
  • Provides $500 billion in grants and interest-free loans to small businesses.
  • Creates a $200 billion stabilization fund for states and $15 billion for local governments through the Community Development Block Grant program. The legislation also authorizes the Federal Reserve to purchase state and local government bonds.
  • Pumps nearly $60 billion into schools and universities, with $50 billion directly provided to states for school funding and nearly $10 billion to higher education institutions.
  • Dedicates $20 billion to reimbursing the U.S. Postal Service for lost revenue, and forgives USPS debt.
  • Requires companies receiving federal assistance during coronavirus to institute a $15 minimum wage.

What's next: Discussions between McConnell, Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will continue over the next few days. Both sides are confident they will ultimately reach an agreement given the dire need to deliver this aid as soon as possible.

Read the bill ... and compare it to McConnell's.

Go deeper: Procedural vote on coronavirus stimulus fails for 2nd time in 24 hours

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional details from the 1,119-page bill.

Go deeper

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.