More than 152 million Americans have received their stimulus payments in the last six weeks, in the form of direct deposit, paper checks or debit cards. An estimated 35 million are still waiting for their payments, according to recent analysis by the House Ways and Means Committee. What’s more, people are still wondering whether they’re going to receive any more money from the government as a response to the COVID-19 shutdown and whether these payments will be impacted in any way by the ongoing protests taking place across the country.
There have been no verified reports of stimulus payments being stolen in the mail during looting in cities. Congress’s schedule has not yet been changed by the protesting. With that said, many Senate Republicans have hinted that the “riots” could cause a future delay in Senate votes if the civil unrest continues.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Senate’s Current Timeline for Discussing the HEROES Act Has Not Been Affected by Protests
On June 3, the Senate returned from a break and began deliberating on the latest stimulus package, the HEROES Act, which the House of Representatives narrowly passed three weeks ago by a vote of 208 to 199. In order to become law, the Senate must pass this stimulus bill and then President Donald Trump would have to sign it.
The Senate is now not expected to vote on this bill until July. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken on numerous occasions about how unlikely the bill is to pass the Senate, but he has not made any comments implying that the widespread protests will impact any senator’s decision on the bill.
Both the White House and Senate Republicans have made their dislike of the HEROES Act clear. Trump called the bill “dead on arrival.” Other Senate Republicans have echoed this sentiment.
What Senate Republicans Have Said About the Perceived Connection Between Stimulus Checks & Riots
In early June, Senate Republican Whip John Thune told reporters that the protests across the country “could” impact or delay the timeline of stimulus package conversations in the Senate.
Per The Hill, Thune said, “Hopefully this stuff will start to dissipate a little bit. Justice is going to be served. People are going to held accountable for what they did and so hopefully the more visible manifestations of those protests will start to hopefully fade over time.”
Other politicians have made connections between government relief and the protests. Republican Senator Josh Hawley said this month, “I don’t think we can ignore the fact that this civil unrest is happening against a backdrop of 20-plus percent unemployment. We have got to create more opportunity for meaningful work in our urban centers.”
Hawley added, “The question of work, the question of good-paying jobs where people can support themselves, support a family and feel like they have a stake in our society I think is critical, so yeah I think there is a link.”
Though Hawley does believe in this link, he is against a second round of stimulus payments. He said, “I’m going to say getting people their jobs back, which includes their health care, and prioritizing that, I think, really ought to be where we train our firepower.”