While Americans continue to suffer repercussions from the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a growing need for the government to provide some level of help. Why?
One reason is the unemployment rate is still lingering above 10%, which means a lot of American families have got to be feeling the pinch. Another reason has to do with the possibility of the Covid-19 virus getting new life as the U.S. heads into the fall and winter seasons. That could prove to be devastating to the entire U.S. economy if states were forced to shut down again. With economic concerns putting everyone on edge, Americans are looking to Congress and President Trump to take action, any kind of action. What’s going on behind the scenes is likely to be disappointing to a lot of American families who have been hoping for a second stimulus check. Continue to read on to find out more.Read More »
The First Stimulus Package is Winding Down
Back in Match of this year, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the CARES Act. The $2.2 trillion bill addressed the needs of states, cities, hospitals, small businesses, and U.S. citizens.
For U.S. citizens, the CARES Act authorized a stimulus check payment of $1,200 for single taxpayers, $2,400 for married joint filers, and an additional $500 per dependent under the age of 17 years old. Eligible parties were capped at wages of $75,000 (single) and $150,000 (married couple) for the full stimulus payment. Partial payments were authorized for citizens making between $75,001 and $99,000 (single) and $150,001 and $198,000 (married couple).
To date, approximately 170,000,000 million Americans have received their first stimulus check with payments set to go out to another estimated 10,000,000 Americans in the next month. With most pieces of the CARES Act legislation already expired or set to expire by the end of the year, small business owners and workers are getting nervous.
The Battle Rages on for a Second Stimulus Check?
While there seems to be government consensus that Americans need a second stimulus check, progress has been slow. It should not surprise anyone that Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to agree on what another round of stimulus should look like.
In May, the House of Representatives, behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, passed its HEROES Act legislation pretty much down party lines with Republicans balking at the bill. The bill called for a similar stimulus check payment to go to U.S. citizens along with bailout money for states and cities. It also called for noncitizens to receive the same stimulus check as citizens. In total, the HEROES Act would add a whopping $3+ trillion to the National Debt number that currently sits at just under $27 trillion.
Before the HEROES Act could hit the Senate floor, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell decreed the bill “dead on arrival.” He made clear the Senate would not approve bailout money for cities and states, nor would they support stimulus money going out to nonresidents.
In response to the House’s bill, the Senate put forth its attempt at a second stimulus. The Senate bill came in at about $1 trillion with Americans scheduled to get the same stimulus payment. The House balked at the Senate’s proposal on the grounds it did not go far enough. What Pelosi objects to is the Senate’s call for legislation to protect business owners. The GOP wants legislation that protects small business owners from lawsuits related to employees who might get infected with the Covid-19 virus after returning to work.
In an MSNBC interview, this what Pelosi said about the Mc Connell’s Senate’s proposal:
“It does nothing. There are millions of kids who are food insecure, millions, maybe 14 million in our country, food insecure. He has nothing for that. There are millions of families, victims of evictions because they can’t pay the rent. They don’t care about that.”
McConnell responded by accusing Democrats of trying to prevent President Trump from getting a Covid-19 pandemic victory this close to the election.
Where We are Today
In recent weeks, it has become clear that both parties in Congress are dug in with no intention of compromising. Both sides are accusing the other of holding up a stimulus package for political reasons with the election coming in less than two months.
This week, Congress is battling over money in a “continuing resolution” to keep the government going through the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Senate has put forth a $500 billion “mini” stimulus proposal that does not include specific stimulus payments to U.S. citizens.
At this point, it does not look like there will be anything going out this year for the benefit of American families. Politics seems to be ruling the day with Americans set to pay the price. Again, Congress and President Trump both agree that Americans need another stimulus check. The problem is neither side is willing to give a win to their opponents with control of the House, Senate, and Presidency hanging in the balance.
Update on Unemployment Benefits
Faced with federal unemployment benefits expiring on July 31, 2020, the two parties battled on providing an extension. The Democrats wanted the weekly amount to stay at $600 a week for qualified workers while the GOP was not sure there should be an extension. As the impasse reached into August, President Trump stepped in and bypassed Congress with an executive order. The EO called for an extension of $300 a week until the end of the year. That is where the current unemployment amount stands unless Congress can reach some kind of compromise.
It is noteworthy that states can refuse the President’s extension, something several states have done.
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