It was a mere 24 hours ago when the thought of another round of stimulus checks seemed improbable. Yet, today reports from Washington say they’re back! A point of contention in the ongoing negotiations was cost. Party leaders wrangled over the topic of keeping the bill under $1 trillion. So, to do that, these new stimulus checks will likely be far less than the $1,200 per person maximum authorized by the CARES Act in March.
A smaller second stimulus check would be one way to keep costs below the $1 trillion limit. Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, offered $600 maximum stimulus checks but was shot down by Democratic leaders because of the $900+ billion proposals cut $300 in weekly federal unemployment insurance benefits that would help job seekers.
Where is Money Coming from?
Lawmakers were forced to eliminate aid for states and cities to free up nearly $160 billion in funds to allow these direct payments. Using this money, lawmakers can pay for stimulus checks that will be about half the amount of the $1,200 checks approved in March or $600 per person. But discussions are still ongoing on Capitol Hill about the exact payment amount.
The Rush is On
Congressional leaders are in rush to complete this $900+ billion deal because this new spending bill needs to be approved by midnight Friday to avoid a government shutdown. When negotiations began, Democrats were seeking a much larger stimulus package. However, since the election, they relented in the hopes of securing some immediate relief. It’s unclear how long it would take for eligible Americans to receive checks but it’s safe to say, that once approved, things should move quickly.