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  • Writer's picturejohn kepler

New Stimulus package: Could you get nothing?

Lawmakers are running out of time to pass another coronavirus relief package before Congress adjourns for the holidays. A major point of contention is whether any package will include another round of stimulus checks, the direct cash payments that helped millions of households weather the economic crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A $908 billion bipartisan proposal would leave out stimulus payments, focusing instead on providing jobless workers with an additional $300 in weekly unemployment aid. On December 8, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also proposed a $916 billion package that would provide stimulus checks worth $600 per person, although it would cut back on unemployment aid, according to the Wall Street Journal.

On December 14, the bipartisan coalition of senators unveiled the legislative text for a pair of coronavirus relief bills that aim to provide economic aid to American workers and small businesses.

The bills would essentially split the $908 billion package into two plans. The first would consist of a $748 billion measure, expected to include additional funding for the popular Paycheck Protection Program and unemployment insurance, among other programs. A separate $160 billion package would include aid for state and local governments, a priority for Democrats, as well as a liability shield for businesses, which is favored by Republicans — the two plans have been a major obstacle to passing another round of relief.

Neither proposal makes room for another round of direct stimulus payments, but the $748 billion measure would help millions of jobless workers by adding 16 weeks to the unemployment programs that are now set to expire at the end of December. The Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which had provided $600 a week to jobless workers until it expired in July, would be renewed with weekly benefits of $300. The plan would also extend a federal eviction moratorium by an extra month, through the end of January.



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