The Republican Party appears to be in favor of another round of stimulus checks.
The $ 2 billion Economic Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), passed in March, provided one-time payments of up to $ 1,200 per person, plus an additional $ 500 per qualified dependent. People with adjusted gross income greater than $ 75,000 received less.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said this week that the upcoming coronavirus stimulus package could include more of those stimulus payments, but only for low-income Americans.
Details on McConnell’s support for more stimulus checks
At a public event in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell was asked if the next coronavirus relief bill would include more direct payments to Americans. His response indicated that more payments may be possible.
“I think the people most affected are those who make about $ 40,000 a year or less,” McConnell said. “Many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as you all know, has just received [decimated]—Hotels, restaurants – and that could be part of that. ”
House Democrats have largely supported another round of stimulus payments. The House passed a $ 3 billion bill, titled the HEROES Act in May. The bill would provide a second round of direct stimulus payments to individuals, at $ 1,200 per family member (up to $ 6,000 per household). However, that bill is not expected to win consideration by the Senate.
McConnell’s recent comments set a very different tone for what Republicans are willing to provide with the upcoming stimulus package. Some Republicans have stated that the stimulus payments do not directly stimulate the economy and were sent to individuals unaffected by the coronavirus, according to The Hill.
So far, the Republican Party has focused on getting Americans back to work rather than providing more direct aid, which they say could be “a disincentive” for people to work. Instead, they have come up with ideas like providing weekly cash bonuses, in addition to regular wages, for those who return to work.
President Donald Trump has given mixed signals in recent weeks of what he would support in the next stimulus package. He expressed support for the bonuses for returning to work, but seemed to support the idea of another round of stimulus payments just days later.
Are more stimulus payments needed?
The rationale for more stimulus payments has been a source of debate in Washington, DC, but there has been a push to extend at least some form of aid.
On Tuesday, the Economic Security Project (ESP), a universal basic income advocacy group, and the Justice Collaborative, a justice system reform advocacy group, issued an open letter calling for “stimulus payments Regular and Long-lasting Direct “to American Families. The two groups argue that direct payments “are an essential tool” that will help boost economic security, boost spending and economic recovery, and shorten the recession. More than 150 economists supported the letter.
In addition to the one-time stimulus checks, the CARES Act also greatly expanded unemployment insurance benefits. The law extended the total period of unemployment eligibility by an additional 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks. Workers who previously did not qualify for these benefits, such as independent contractors and suspended employees, were covered by the CARES Act.
The federal government also provided a weekly “boost” of $ 600 in addition to regular state benefits. But that momentum will end on July 31. Senate Democrats have lobbied to extend the momentum based on economic conditions, rather than cutting it off at a specific date.
COVID-19 has led to the highest unemployment rate in the entire country since the Great Recession. Research at the Urban Institute reveals that the pandemic has most severely affected people of color in terms of unemployment, reduced insurance coverage, and food insufficiency.
McConnell said he hopes to reveal his own legislation after the Senate returns on July 20. That legislation will likely be negotiated with House Democrats before it is voted on and passed to President Trump for signature.