Second Stimulus Check Missing from Latest Relief Package Proposal

By Stefano Tromba
August 20, 2020

Republicans are trying to piece together a stimulus draft proposal for when lawmakers return from their recess next month.

In a much more scaled-down version of the original stimulus package, we see that a second stimulus check is missing. In addition to no direct payments, this latest version also has reduced unemployment benefits of $300 per week (a reduction from the $600 per week in the CARES Act). The proposal also includes no student loan relief. These latest changes are in sharp contrast to those seen in President Trump’s executive memorandum signed last week. The changes are being made in the hopes to meet Democrats halfway on terms so that by early September a relief package can make its way to Americans. 

Negotiations on Hold?

As Congress remains in recess, negotiations on the second stimulus package seem to be going nowhere at the moment as Republicans appear to divided among themselves,  Senate leaders held conference calls with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows last week. What we’re seeing from those calls is a redefined plan to lowering the $1 trillion price tag of the HEALS Act. 

House Democrats agreed to compromise on a new stimulus bill earlier in August, reducing the price tag of the HEROES Act from over $3 trillion to approximately $2 trillion, hoping Republicans could meet them halfway (Republicans had previously offered a new stimulus package costing around $1 trillion). But as we all saw, lawmakers could not reach an agreement before their scheduled recess. 

Even if the latest narrow stimulus proposal could get enough votes to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, the bill would need to pass the Democratic-controlled House. And if past actions have told us anything, it’s that Democratic leaders will oppose it – potentially delaying the stimulus package even further. 

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