Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the next stimulus will be the final one.
Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re hoping for several more stimulus checks, you may be out of luck. According to McConnell (R-KY), the fourth stimulus bill will be smaller than the CARES Act and be the final stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His comments comes at a time in which more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. McConnell says that the final stimulus bill will be drafted by Republicans and the White House, with input from Democrats. McConnell needs at least some Democrats to support the final legislation before it becomes law. “You could anticipate the decision being made on whether to go forward in about a month,” McConnell said. “And it will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago.”
Heroes Act won’t pass the Senate
Senate Republicans have called the Heroes Act — an ambitious $3 trillion stimulus package that recently passed the House of Representatives — as “dead on arrival.” The Heroes Act won’t pass the Senate for several reasons. First, Senate Republicans have publicly stated they won’t support the legislation. Second, they have referred to the legislation as a “liberal wish list” that isn’t targeted. Third, some Republicans are concerned about the legislation’s cost, which is nearly $800 million more than the CARES Act. Fourth, McConnell wants small businesses, including hospitals and doctors, shielded from liability from lawsuits resulting from COVID-19. This fourth point is also an important provision for President Donald Trump.
Will you get a second stimulus check? It depends. Not every Senate Democrat would support a second stimulus check. For example, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) says that any future stimulus checks should be targeted specifically at those families that have been impacted most by the struggling economy. “I think the next round we’ve got to be more targeted to those who are really in need,” Cardin toldThe Hill. “So I hope we can target this a little bit better to those who have been hit hard because of COVID-19.”
Will unemployment benefits get extended?
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) supports a second stimulus check, but it’s not his top priority. Wyden is focused on extending unemployment benefits beyond July 31, 2020. Wyden’s plan would extend Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) — the additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits — based on a state’s level of unemployment. Currently, PEUC benefits are $600 a week. After July 31, 2020, the amount of benefits would remain at $600 a week for all weeks until a state’s three-month average total unemployment rate falls below 11%. Unemployment benefits would decrease by $100 increments as the three-month average unemployment rate drops. If a state’s unemployment rate is more than 8.5%, for example, you could receive 52 weeks of PEUC, which means you could receive a total of 78 weeks of unemployment compensation in most states.