Congress is gearing up to debate another stimulus package next month, and several ideas are being floated for a package to help millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Congress and Donald Trump managed to agree on $3 trillion for emergency spending to tackle the pandemic and its economic consequences. The bulk of those funds arrived in March from the Cares Act, which was the $2 trillion relief package designed to boost the American economy. Under the Cares Act, American citizens who made under $75,000 a year ($150,000 for couples) got checks of $1,200, plus an additional $500 for dependent children. By the beginning of June, over 159 million Americans had received stimulus payments, per the IRS.
In recent weeks, Trump has voiced his support for a second round of stimulus checks, likely in an effort to increase support for him in the upcoming elections. However, White House advisers and Republican lawmakers are divided over the specifics of the money and how it will be distributed and to whom.
Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin introduced a second round of stimulus checks. But the director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, has stated that the administration should consider only distributing future funds to “people who lost their jobs and are most in need.”
Many Republicans don’t think a second round of stimulus checks are needed to boost the economy, while others have shown support of it only in the event that it was a targeted measure.
Several Republican lawmakers have offered their proposals of what the aide should look like.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Thursday that would give mixed-status families with unauthorized immigrants $1,200 stimulus checks. Rep. Kevin Brady introduced a plan for a $1,200 bonus, which is equivalent to a jobless person collecting two weeks of unemployment benefits. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio put his two cents in by proposing a bonus of $450 a week for up to six weeks.
Democrats are also looking to extend the $600 federal boost to weekly unemployment benefits through January, which is set to expire on July 31st.
With coronavirus cases skyrocketing as lockdown measures are being lifted, a decision is likely to come sooner than later on the three plans, which address stimulus checks, extra unemployment payments, and hiring bonuses.