Stimulus Update: There's Bipartisan Support for a $68 Billion Stimulus Bill

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Could more coronavirus relief legislation pass in Washington, D.C.?

Key points

  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers are working on another coronavirus stimulus bill.
  • The bill's estimated price tag would be around $68 billion.
  • The legislation would be more targeted this time.

Despite popular support for another coronavirus relief bill, a lack of action on the part of D.C. lawmakers has left many believing that more COVID-19 stimulus is off the table. There is, however, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who are actually working on another relief package that has an estimated price of $68 billion.

This relief bill would be more targeted than the last one, though, and preliminary reports suggest it probably wouldn't include another direct payment to be deposited into American's bank accounts.

Here's what you need to know about the proposal and how it could affect you.

Lawmakers are working on a fourth COVID-19 relief bill

Both Democrats and Republicans have now come to the table to discuss the possibility of providing COVID-19 relief funds in 2022 as the omicron variant causes a massive spike in COVID-19 cases. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have taken the lead on the bipartisan negotiations that have been ongoing in recent weeks.

Their initial plan as outlined at the end of December would provide a total of around $68 billion in relief. This would include both some new government spending, as well as some repurposing of funds that were appropriated by prior COVID-19 bills.

Unlike the last three bills, however, there wouldn't be a direct payment for most Americans with this relief bill. Instead, the legislation is focused on offering assistance to businesses in certain industries that are most likely to face significant disruption resulting from the omicron variant.

These industries include restaurants; gyms; performance venues; and minor league sports teams -- many of which are already being impacted by new lockdowns or by an increased reluctance among the public to venture into crowded public spaces amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Still, every member of the public could benefit from more federal support for their local businesses. The relief funds could help prevent companies from closing and reducing the goods and services available to residents.

They could also potentially help stave off an increase in prices by helping to ensure businesses don't need to raise prices to cope with ongoing economic uncertainty and by helping to keep up the supply of goods by avoiding business closures. With inflation already surging, any measures that help prevent further cost increases would be welcomed by most Americans.

Of course, there is no guarantee this legislation will actually pass. However, it's encouraging that there is some bipartisan support for it, as the most recent COVID-19 relief legislation -- the American Rescue Plan Act -- was passed by Democrats on a party-line basis.

The two lawmakers drafting the current proposal have already met with others from both sides of the aisle including Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) with the goal of getting moderates on board. This would be necessary to get the 60 votes required in the Senate to overcome a filibuster and pass legislation.

If lawmakers do take action to provide more support for businesses because of omicron, this could potentially also open up the door to another relief bill for individuals as well. So, a fourth check in 2022 may not be completely off the table.

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