Congress reached an agreement on a new COVID-19 stimulus relief plan on Sunday, December 2020. And yes, it includes a second round of stimulus checks, although they would be half the amount as last time.
The agreement came despite months of stalemates; a bipartisan compromise plan totaling $908 billion finally broke the logjam. Officials confirmed that it will include $600 in stimulus checks for qualifying Americans as well as $300 in enhanced unemployment benefits.
On Sunday evening, December 20, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that they had reached a deal on a $908 billion stimulus package. McConnell wrote on Twitter, “As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own. Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way.”
According to The Washington Post, qualifying Americans would receive $600 stimulus checks. According to the Post, people who earned more than $75,000 in 2019 would receive less money, following the same guidelines as the first round of stimulus checks. Those who earn more than $99,000 wouldn’t receive a stimulus check, the Post reported.
Dependents would also get $600 each, so a family of four would receive $2,400 if they meet income limits, The Post reported, adding that families would get stimulus checks even if one parent is not a citizen. The Post’s details are based on interviews with people in the know; although Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed that an agreement was reached, they haven’t yet released the text of the agreement.
On Sunday, December 20, a deal looked imminent all day; McConnell said earlier in the day, “We’re winnowing down the remaining differences … I hope and expect to have a final agreement nailed down in a matter of hours.”
McConnell expressed optimism on Twitter on the afternoon of December 20, writing, “I think both sides agree: Our around-the-clock negotiations on COVID relief are hours away from completion. Our citizens need this waiting to end. Thousands of Americans are being robbed of their lives every day. Working families are hurting. Let’s finally get this done today.”
The debate over stimulus relief has been drawn into the larger debate over governmental funding to thwart a shutdown. That’s close in hand, as Congress approved a two-day stopgap measure on Friday, December 19 to avoid just such a shutdown.
A measure to pass $1,200 checks by unanimous consent was foiled by a Republican Senator on Friday, December 18. Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders had joined forces to pass that amount but Republican Senator Ron Johnson killed it, while expressing concerns about the national debt.
The deadlock between Democrats and Republicans in Congress has gone on for months. Neither side has been able to agree on the overall price tag for a second relief plan, with Democrats wanting around $2.2 trillion, Republicans wanting about $500 billion, and a bipartisan compromise plan coming in around $908 billion.
Here’s what you need to know:
An Agreement on the Federal Bank’s Lending Powers Seems to Have Paved a Path for the Second Round of Stimulus Checks
An agreement on the federal bank’s lending powers was perceived as clearing the path for a bipartisan agreement on stimulus relief, The New York Times reported.
Votes on a stimulus deal are expected Sunday afternoon, December 20. The vote has been tied to government funding needed to avoid a governmental shutdown.
When could you expect to get the second check? “For most Americans, these payments will go out really quickly and in a similar timeline to the first round of stimulus checks,” said Chantel Boyens, a former Office of Management and Budget official, told CNBC.
The Senator Minority Leader Says a Deal Is Close & the Senator Majority Leader Says it’s Time to Get One Done
The rhetoric on both sides was optimistic about the need for a deal.
“We’re getting very close, very close,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Saturday, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, wrote on Twitter on December 19 that it was time to “land this plane.”
“I appreciate the good-faith spirit that has characterized the bipartisan negotiations this past week. But the American people cannot feed their families or pay their bills with Congress’s good-faith discussions. They need us to act. We need to conclude talks and land this plane,” McConnell wrote of the overall stimulus relief plan.
McConnell also wrote, “Productive conversations remain underway on COVID-19 relief. But Congress must not slide into treating these talks like routine negotiations at our routine pace. This could not be more urgent. The Senate’s going to keep working right through the weekend until we get an outcome.”
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