As Coronavirus cases surge and more restrictions come into place, Americans are left hoping for a second stimulus check to tide them through.
Congress continues to remain stalled even as more and more Americans file for unemployment benefits in the United States. Additionally, the number of positive cases of Coronavirus is spiking across the country. Therefore, new restrictions are coming into effect, which further threatens employment. Though both the Republican and Democratic parties have expressed support for a second payment of stimulus checks, lawmakers have been unable to come to an agreement regarding broader decisions within the economic package. Congress will resume following a break this week when it will focus on passing a broader spending bill. Some are hopeful that this bill will include some relief measures, but it is unlikely, CNN reports.
What can be expected is an extension of existing provisions passed under the previous economic stimulus package. These provisions, including expanded unemployment benefits, an eviction moratorium, and a pause on student loan payments, are set to expire on December 31 this year. Should Congress be unable to pass a broader spending bill, they are looking at a partial and temporary government shutdown. Thus, a stimulus package is of the highest priority. Despite this, however, there has been little talk in Congress about a second round of stimulus checks. Ever since earlier this summer, not much has taken place.
Republicans, who comprise the majority in the Senate, did introduce a stimulus package proposal. This, nonetheless, did not include money for direct payments. The most probable course of events is that further government relief becomes viable once Joe Biden enters the White House. As Capitol Hill revs up for a Biden Presidency, much still rests on the shoulders of upcoming Senate races in Georgia set for January 5. While Biden does support a $3 trillion Democratic-backed bill which includes a second round of checks, this bill is unlikely to be passed if Democrats do not take control of the Senate.
Democrats are not the only ones urging lawmakers to act quickly and in support of the American people. A group of 120 economists has pushed for lawmakers to approve another round of checks, arguing that they are "one of the quickest, most equitable, and most effective ways to get families and the economy back on track." In addition to a lack of additional relief, Congress has already allowed some support programs to expire, such as the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and the $600 federal boost to weekly unemployment benefits.