$ 600 stimulus checks now on the table under the relief bill
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COVID-19 cases are exploding across the country and hospitals are increasingly overwhelmed. As local restrictions reappear, it’s clear the public needs a healthy dose of relief. Especially considering the number of people who have already exhausted their savings in an effort to stay afloat. Desperate Americans cling to hopes of pushing through stimulus bill before the end of the year. And in this regard, lawmakers are still negotiating.
Last week, a bipartisan proposal came out with a Price of $ 908 billion attached to it. The package included an improved federal system unemployment benefits $ 300 per week, $ 160 billion in state and local aid and $ 288 billion for struggling small businesses. But one thing that was particularly missing was a direct second raise check.
The March CARES Act included a series of $ 1,200 stimulus checks that were handed out earlier in the year. These checks served as a lifeline for millions of Americans struggling with loss of income or unemployment. But it’s fair to assume that a lot of that stimulus money has since been spent. And given the state of the economy and the pandemic, Americans need more.
Lawmakers are now scrambling to include a second stimulus payment in their latest package. The Trump administration just presented a different $ 916 billion proposal that would have include a direct stimulus payment of $ 600. However, not only is this half the amount of the initial checks for $ 1,200, it also comes at a cost.
Will the $ 600 stimulus checks reduce it?
On December 8, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin introduced this latest iteration of a stimulus bill. It provides direct payments of $ 600 for individuals and $ 1,200 for couples. But while some stimulus funds are certainly better than nothing, it’s still half the amount Americans hoped to see based on the CARES Act.
What’s even more problematic, however, is that this new proposal also aims to eliminate the weekly $ 300 boost to unemployment benefits that so many unemployed Americans need. Republican lawmakers made it clear from the start that they were looking to lower the cost of a back-up plan. But freeing up money for direct stimulus checks by increasing unemployment benefits probably won’t appeal to Democrats. Democrats have pushed for more generous relief spending, including increased unemployment since the summer.
Will a back-up plan be signed before the end of the year?
Initially, pressure was put on lawmakers to pass a second stimulus bill ahead of the November presidential election. But this milestone has clearly passed. At this point, the big question is whether a back-up plan will be enacted before the end of 2020.
An equally important question is: what will this stimulus package actually look like? Americans can be encouraged to see a direct payment (albeit a smaller one) coming back to the table. But suppressing the rise in unemployment is not only likely to hurt the unemployed, but also to block negotiations again at a time when the public cannot afford to wait.