- Congress is expected to debate a Phase 4 stimulus package next month.
- Many economists say additional action is needed to keep jobless people afloat since unemployment remains in the double-digits.
- Three plans under consideration are stimulus checks, extra unemployment payments, and hiring bonuses.
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Congress is expected to debate another economic relief package next month — and lawmakers are starting to roll out their ideas for what direction it should take.
So far, Congress and President Donald Trump approved over $3 trillion in emergency spending to confront the coronavirus pandemic and manage its economic fallout. The biggest chunk of that came in March from the CARES Act, a $2 trillion relief package that pumped cash into every corner of the American economy.
For individuals, it had two pillars: a wave of one-time, $1,200 stimulus checks and a $600 federal boost to weekly unemployment payouts that shored up people’s finances during an economic collapse.
Now Congress is looking at three measures that could provide financial relief and add extra cash into people’s bank accounts. Here are all the details.
Lawmakers are weighing another round of stimulus checks.
Trump supports sending another wave of stimulus checks, The Washington Post reported. However, White House advisers and Republican lawmakers are deeply divided, and there are still no specifics on possible amounts or thresholds for eligibility.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin opened the door to a second round earlier this month. But National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the administration might push to send checks to “people who lost their jobs and are most in need.”
There are significant rifts among congressional Republicans as well. Many don’t believe it’s needed to boost the economy, but some lawmakers have signaled they are open to the idea if it’s a targeted measure.
Under the CARES Act, $1,200 stimulus checks were sent to individuals earning under $75,000 a year ($150,000 for couples), plus an extra $500 for dependent children. Payments phased out at $99,000 for single-filers and $198,000 for couples.
A new bill from Sen. Marco Rubio introduced Thursday would give mixed-status families with unauthorized immigrants a $1,200 stimulus check.
Over 159 million Americans had received direct payments by the beginning of June, per the IRS.
An extension of boosted unemployment payments is also under consideration.
Democrats are seeking to extend the $600 federal boost to unemployment benefits through January 2021. It’s currently set to expire on July 31.
But many Republicans argue that amount should either be phased out or lowered so workers don’t earn more on unemployment than they were making at their old jobs.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that five out of six recipients would get more money from the government than from their previous employer if the supplement was extended through the end of the year.
Unemployment, though, is projected to remain in the double-digits for much of the year, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve.
A group of top bipartisan economists recently called on Congress to extend the federal boost to weekly unemployment payments past July for up to $400, but tie it to the economic health of individual states.