by Maurie Backman | Oct. 6, 2020
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Americans have waited months for additional coronavirus relief. Now they may wait even longer.
Will there be a second stimulus check? If so, when will it arrive?
Those have been the big questions on Americans' minds as lawmakers have spent the better part of the summer and early fall going back and forth on stimulus negotiations. And for weeks, there's been talk that a stimulus deal would happen prior to the November election.
But on Tues., Oct. 6, President Trump told his administration to hit pause on stimulus talks until after Nov. 3. Americans could wind up waiting many weeks for relief, or worse yet, that delay could postpone a second round of stimulus checks until sometime in 2021.
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In the past, President Trump has pledged his support for a second relief bill -- one that includes stimulus checks. He's now asking his representatives to stop negotiations and focus on another matter: confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
When we dig deeper -- by accessing the president's Twitter account -- we can see that his directive to halt negotiations may come in part from frustration. As the president tweeted, "Nancy Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19. We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars and, as usual, she is not negotiating in good faith. I am rejecting their request, and looking to the future of our Country."
The stimulus bill price tag has long been a sticking point between Democrats and Republicans. In fact, the HEROES Act, Democrats' initial proposal, came in at over $3 trillion. The HEROES Act has since been slimmed down by roughly $1 trillion, but the price tag is still too steep for Republicans, who want to keep stimulus spending to a minimum.
Another major point of contention is boosted unemployment. The CARES Act, passed into law in late March, brought a $600 boost to weekly jobless benefits, but that boost expired in late July. Democratic lawmakers have pushed to extend that $600 weekly boost ever since, while Republicans have been insistent on a lower supplement to prevent a scenario in which people make more on unemployment than if they return to work, and are therefore disincentivized.
Still, it did seem like lawmakers would work through these hiccups -- perhaps in time for the election. So the president's announcement comes as a major blow to the millions of Americans hanging on by a thread while holding out for relief.
If stimulus negotiations are postponed until after the election, there's a chance a bill won't get signed into law until the end of the year. From then, the IRS will need a few weeks to send out a second round of direct payments, which means Americans may not see a bit of relief until the new year. And at this stage of the game, that's not the news they want to hear.
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