Bad News: The New Stimulus Package Probably Won’t Include Checks
When the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, the federal government scrambled to provide much-needed financial relief to individuals and business owners. The $2 trillion CARES Act ― the largest stimulus package in U.S. history ― was signed in March. Included in the various relief measures were direct payments of $1,200 to qualifying individuals.
Now that talks of another stimulus package are underway, Americans have been anxiously wondering whether they’ll receive another round of checks. Unfortunately, the latest legislation doesn’t include direct payments, and that’s unlikely to change in the final bill. But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for additional checks in the future.
Here’s a closer look at the latest coronavirus relief proposals on the table, what’s included and when you might expect to receive another stimulus check from Uncle Sam.
What’s The Latest On A New Stimulus Package?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided a number of emergency economic measures, including expanded unemployment benefits, a moratorium on evictions, federal student loan forbearance and certain tax breaks, all of which are set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress steps in.
However, lawmakers have been in a stalemate for months as Democrats and Republicans argue over what types of relief ― and how much ― should be included in the next stimulus package.
After multiple bills failed to get approved by both the House and Senate, a new bipartisan proposal worth $908 billion was introduced Tuesday as a stopgap measure to provide some relief to Americans before the end of the year. The plan represents both parties’ latest attempt at a compromise before the holidays.
No Stimulus Checks Are On The Table For Now
The current bipartisan stimulus plan mirrors the original CARES Act in many ways, including expanded unemployment benefits and another round of Paycheck Protection Program funds for small businesses. But one component of the first stimulus package that’s starkly missing from current proposals is direct payments to individuals. It’s highly unlikely that Americans will see a second stimulus check in 2020.
Also missing from the new bipartisan proposal is a plan to address those programs expiring at the end of the year, including eviction moratoriums and unemployment benefits for gig workers and independent contractors.
Biden is expected to push for a more robust stimulus plan after he’s inaugurated on Jan. 20. “Any package passed in a lame-duck session is lucky to be at best just a start,” he said Tuesday while introducing his proposed economic team. However, Biden’s plan doesn’t specify how much these checks could be worth or whether the qualifications to receive one will change. And he’ll still need support from Congress to get another round of stimulus checks to individuals, which means the prospect is still very much up in the air.
Still, there is hope for future checks. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed the need for additional payments.
A Closer Look At The $908 Billion Proposal
Though you probably can’t count on another stimulus check before 2021, the bipartisan proposal does promise other valuable relief, especially for the unemployed and small business owners.
As it stands now, the plan allocates $288 billion toward support for small businesses, including a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. It also promises $180 billion in expanded unemployment insurance benefits (an additional $300 per week for four months).
Other relief efforts outlined in the plan include $160 billion in state, local and tribal government aid; $82 billion for education relief; $45 billion for airlines and other transport; $35 billion for a health care provider relief fund; $26 billion to nutrition and agriculture programs; $25 billion in rental assistance; $16 billion for vaccine development, supply, test and trace funding; $12 billion for community and minority development lender support; $10 billion to the U.S. Postal Service; $10 billion for child care; $10 billion for broadband; and $5 billion for opioid treatment.
Included in the bipartisan group of senators behind the bill is Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a self-proclaimed “deficit hawk,” who said Tuesday that even he recognized the need to assist Americans struggling through this pandemic. “COVID has created a crisis, and in a crisis, people expect Congress to act,” he stated in a press briefing.
In addition to Romney, lawmakers involved in negotiating the latest bipartisan deal include Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Angus King (I-Maine) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) both announced their support of the proposal.
On Wednesday, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated he would not support the bill and instead circulated his own significantly pared-down plan. McConnell’s stimulus proposal includes roughly $500 billion in relief ― but no checks. It also offers minimal aid to the unemployed, which could serve as a major roadblock in coming to a compromise with the bipartisan group.