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We finally have an agreement.
In a whirlwind on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Republicans and Democrats made a deal for a $ 900 billion stimulus package. The relief package will send most Americans a $ 600 stimulus check. And the bill provides improved weekly unemployment payments of $ 300 to most unemployed Americans.
The $ 900 billion stimulus package is slashed from the $ 2.2 trillion CARES law passed in March, but it is on par with the $ 787 billion stimulus package signed in 2009 by President Barack Obama.
The deal, which was reached on Sunday and has yet to be passed by the Senate and House, would also understand funds for small business loans, vaccines, schools and $ 25 billion in housing assistance (as well as an extension of the moratorium on evictions). But even with funding to keep the government running, it should be renewed in a provisional one-day vote in Congress Sunday evening (with a seven day extension should be taken Monday), that gives lawmakers a tight deadline to consider and pass the bill.
The deal marks the resolution of a months-long debate in Congress on further relief amid the pandemic. “Make no mistake: this deal is far from perfect, but it will bring emergency relief to a nation in the throes of a real emergency,” said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said Sunday.
How much will stimulus checks be worth?
Direct payments could be as high as $ 600 for individuals and each dependent child, and will be phased out for higher incomes. A spokesperson for Senator Schumer confirmed that the elimination would be similar to the spring stimulus package: CARES Act stimulus checks declined for 2019 adjusted gross income – federally taxable income – above 75,000 $ per person or $ 150,000 per qualified couple. And checks have been completely phased out for people earning over $ 99,000 and childless co-filers at $ 198,000.
The news capped a hectic week as the two sides rushed to strike a deal ahead of a series of pandemic benefits expired this month, some of which unemployment benefits and moratoriums on evictions.
What is notably not included in the deal is new funding for state and local aid, a key Democratic wish, and protection from COVID-19 lawsuits for businesses, a big Republican demand. The two provisions were also not in the most recent version of a bipartisan $ 748 billion bill, and leaders like McConnell recently proposed dropping the two sticking points of a deal in order to do it quickly.
Extended unemployment assistance
The expansion of unemployment provisions in the event of a pandemic is good news for the more than 19 million Americans who currently receive unemployment benefits. About 13 million of these current beneficiaries were to lose their benefits the week of December 26, when Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Unemployment Compensation in Emergency Pandemic (PEUC) expire. The program would extend both PUA and PEUC, providing enhanced benefits of $ 300 per week for up to 11 weeks. PUA extends unemployment benefits to U.S. workers and the self-employed, and PEUC provides 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits to skilled individuals. However, given the date on which the agreement was reached, it is likely there may be lags to obtain benefits for beneficiaries due to the need to reprogram state systems.
The deal comes like economists fear the country’s economic recovery is in jeopardy. The rebound that started strong this summer, with 4.8 million jobs added in June alone, has slowed. Only 245,000 jobs were added in November. At this rate, it would take until the end of 2023 for employment to fully regain its pre-pandemic level.
A spokesperson for McConnell could not be reached for comment.
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