Don’t expect a stimulus check from the newest COVID-19 relief bill

Second stimulus check
Photo via frankieleon/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Government officials have been in talks for months over a second coronavirus relief bill. Lawmakers appear to have settled on a $908 billion bill to aid citizens during the pandemic, but don’t expect a second stimulus check with the newest relief bill.

The first relief bill cost roughly $2 trillion and included a $1200 stimulus check distributed to American individuals as well as an extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits. The second bill, as of now, includes an extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits, but it won’t include a stimulus check. 

While Democrats proposed a $2.2 trillion package, Republicans had a tighter budget. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) initially proposed a $500 billion “target” package. Efforts to keep the bill under $1 trillion took precedence over aims to include a second check.

Stimulus checks are not entirely out of the question, however. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said a larger relief package including stimulus checks may come in the future.

Not everyone is happy with the compromise. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), joined by Sen. Josh Hawley, (R-Mo.), said they would not support the second bill if it didn’t include stimulus checks. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are also fighting a Republican measure that would shield businesses from negligence lawsuits over COVID-19 outbreaks

President-elect Joe Biden also favored a second round of stimulus checks, but said the second bill was “immediately needed” and future assistance could be passed at a later date. Many lawmakers are still pushing for stimulus checks and have proposed offering a $600 check for qualifying adults and children.

The new bill will also extend an eviction freeze and reauthorize the Paycheck Protection Program to grant a second round of subsidies to struggling businesses. According to  Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), the bill is intended as a “short-term emergency-relief package to get us through the first months, through a very tough winter, into the new administration.”

Sources: Chicago Tribune, USA Today, NPR, CNET

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