Americans are eagerly waiting for positive news about the talks regarding stimulus relief packages as Congress is expected to return to work on Monday, where Senators and Representatives would continue discussions whether or not to pass a bill before 2020 ends.
However, even with bipartisan support for a new COVID-19 relief bill, Congress is in disagreement about the size and scope of the package. For the last six months, politicians have been in stalled talks despite the urgency of releasing financial support to Americans.
President-elect Joe Biden called the situation a “dark winter” as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States grow and the economic disparities worsen.
The U.S. reported its deadliest day since May on Wednesday with a staggering 2,300 deaths from the COVID-19 virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had previously warned that the country could see a death toll of more than 320,000 by the middle of December.
The significant effects of the pandemic forced more and more politicians to push Congress to pass a smaller bill to support citizens. The bill would support or extend some of the most crucial programs that are about to expire next month. Officials are willing to forego the stimulus check in the next package in favor of providing short-term aid until Congress could return to negotiations after the Biden administration is seated on January 20.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said, “We need to do this now,” adding that some politicians thought they had to pass the previous $2.4 trillion proposal or nothing at all. Blunt said that approving even half of that amount would have helped millions of people in the U.S.
Some officials said that the second stimulus check worth about $1,200 would not be needed as the coronavirus vaccine is close to being approved for emergency use. The vaccine would allow workers to come back to their workplace and urge spending that would support the economy. However, experts noted the treatment would be evenly distributed to everyone across the country, CNET reported.
If Congress decides to pass a bill early next month, the process could still take several weeks for the Internal Revenue Service to start distributing the funds. Comparing the situation to the previous package, the agency took up to three months to successfully deliver the Economic Impact Payment after it was signed into law.
The threat of not getting a new relief package before the end of the year pushes millions of Americans to the brink as unemployment benefits are set to expire next month. The number of people who applied for jobless aid increased for a second week, a bleak sign that the economy’s recovery is slowing down, CBS News reported.
Previously, a $600 weekly unemployment benefit supported jobless people’s lost wages amid the lack of a federal enhancement. States provided an average of $318 per week support for each person in October.
Senior economic analysts at Bankrate, Mark Hamrick, said, “Good luck making that go very far in many areas across the country,” when asked about the unemployment boost.
The goal of the $600 financial support was to fully take the place of lost wages of the average U.S. worker during the worst jobless rate since the Great Depression. A study by Columbia University found that the boost, and the one-time $1,200 stimulus checks, helped 18 million Americans get out of poverty in April.
In August, Trump authorized the Lost Wages Assistance that had provisions to provide an additional $300 to the weekly federal unemployment benefits. However, the policy excluded hundreds of thousands of low-income earners, CNBC reported.