Second Stimulus Check: Can You Get $ 1,200, $ 600, or Nothing?

Lawmakers are running out of time to implement another coronavirus relief package before Congress suspends for the holidays. A major point of contention is whether a package will include a second round of incentive checks, the cash outright payments that helped millions of households weather the economic crisis triggered by the corona pandemic.

A $ 908 billion bipartisan proposal initially left no stimulus payments, but instead focused on providing weekly unemployment assistance to unemployed workers. But a last-minute addition to the package could include another round of checks, most likely at the $ 600 per person level, according to a Dec. 16 research note from Raymond James analysts.

That’s half of the $ 1,200 payments distributed to about 160 million US consumers this spring through the Coronavirus Aid, Aid, and Economic Security Act or $ 2 Trillion CARES. Some senators, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have insisted that each new emergency includes a new round of checks worth $ 1,200 for low- and middle-income Americans. Sanders, who is joined by Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican senator, promised to enforce a vote on the proposal before lawmakers suspend for the year on Dec. 18.

Hawley said on December 16 that the potential for a round of checks, even at $ 600 per adult, was a “good move in the right direction.” But, he added, “I think it should be $ 1,200.”

The current negotiations are based on a $ 908 billion proposal from a bipartisan coalition of senators. But because that package included $ 160 billion in battle aid state and local governments, which Republicans objected to, as well as a corporate liability shield, which Democrats opposed, the group split the bill into two bills – essentially the controversial issues in a smaller, separate package that can be discussed at another time.

Instead, the first bill would consist of a $ 748 billion measure, which is expected to include additional funding for the popular Paycheck Protection Program and unemployment insurance, among others.

Delaying $ 160 billion in funding for state and local governments could be key to finding support for another round of stimulus payments, Raymond James said.

“The cost of the CARES Direct Payments Act was about $ 300 billion; cutting the checks in half would be $ 150 billion,” the analysts wrote. “If the $ 150 billion in direct payments were exchanged for $ 160 billion in state and local aid, that would make a total bill of $ 900 billion reported.”

Help with unemployment

The $ 748 billion measure would help millions of unemployed workers by adding 16 weeks to the unemployment programs now ending in late December. The Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which had provided $ 600 per week to unemployed workers until it expired in July, would be extended with a weekly benefit of $ 300. The plan would also extend a federal deportation moratorium for an additional month, through the end of January. .

Pelosi: “Great Progress” in COVID Emergency Response …


“This package is far from perfect – there are major omissions, including a reduction in the PUC from $ 600 to $ 300 and no continuation of paid time off,” said Andrew Stettner, an unemployment expert at The Century Foundation, a left-wing think tank. “Nevertheless, the proposal is a hefty down payment for aid to unemployed workers and the entire economy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders spoke on Dec. 15 to discuss the aid package and a broader government spending bill, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calling in, Pelosi’s spokesman said on Twitter.

“The speaker and secretary Mnuchin spoke by phone for 1 hour and 7 minutes at noon and discussed the latest news about COVID and Omni talks. The secretary will attend the Four Corners leaders meeting by phone today at 4:00 PM,” Pelosi wrote. spokesman Drew Hammill on Twitter.

Splitting the bill could increase the likelihood of unemployment benefits renewing before the end of the year, Heights Securities said in a research note. Analysts said there is an “almost categorical 80% that Congress will implement at least a moderate stimulus ($ 400-750 billion) before the week is over.”

The politically charged debate over additional stimulus funding leaves millions of households in the dark about any aid they might receive in the coming weeks. For many people, the financial picture is fading as winter approaches and coronavirus cases reach new daily highs.

In late November, more consumers said they felt a financial impact from the COVID-19 crisis, reaching nearly 6 in 10 people and representing the second consecutive monthly increase in hardship, according to a TransUnion survey. Also job growth in the US. slowed down sharply in November, raising concerns that the economic recovery is losing momentum.

“Ticking time bomb”

Some consumers, meanwhile, say they need far more than a one-time payment of $ 1,200 to help them survive until the coronavirus vaccine is more widely available next year.

“Our [COVID-19] numbers are greater than ever and the magnitude of this pandemic is near limitless, but the help is not, ” restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin told CBS MoneyWatch. She has a petition calling on Congress to give people $ 2,000 a month. received nearly 2 million signatures.

She added, “Whether PPP, whether controlling the stimulus, they’ve dried up one by one and nothing else has taken their place.”

December 26 “feels like a ticking time bomb,” added Bonin, referring to the date when unemployment benefits expire for 12 million unemployed workers. “None of it is enough – be it $ 600 or a one-time check for $ 1,200 – nothing is enough to meet the need.”

In the meantime, millions of American families are struggling to pay their bills and are being fired remain historically high. Of the consumers affected by the pandemic, about 8 in 10 are concerned about their ability to pay their bills – half of whom say they are concerned about paying their rent or mortgage, according to the TransUnion survey .

“Nearly two in five affected consumers say they really need a future stimulus check and don’t know how they will get by without it,” the credit rating agency found.