Will Congress Pass Another Stimulus Act?

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With unemployment skyhigh, Americans are eagerly waiting for news about a second stimulus payment. When it will come and what form it will take are still up for discussion.

Senate Republicans and White House officials have expressed hesitation about rolling out a second round of direct payments. Meanwhile, Democratic Senators Kamala Harris (CA), Ed Markey (MA) and Independent Bernie Sanders (VT) have proposed legislation that would enact continued monthly payments of $2,000 until the pandemic ends.

Here are the three main proposals for he next stimulus package, and when you can expect to receive any additional payments.

The Senate Republicans’ Proposal

Republicans in the Senate have written a rough draft of a second stimulus package. Taking a fiscally conservative stance, Republicans are determined to make this package much smaller than the last stimulus, known as the CARES Act. That package had provided a one-time $1,200 payment to qualifying Americans.

Now, Republican Senate leaders are hoping to slash the cost of the new stimulus, to $1 trillion. That would be half the size of the CARES Act. Some have also demanded that any new package contain a stipulation that it would be the last stimulus package of the coronavirus era.

The Republican version of the stimulus bill will likely not include payments to individuals. Instead, it will allot funding or loans to small-businesses. This proposal will also include increased legal protections for businesses and doctors. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the proposal will be completed in July. 

The White House’s Travel Tax Credit

The Trump administration has been discussing a travel tax credit as an economic relief strategy. The travel tax credit would go to people who vacationed, bought gasoline or ate at restaurants in the US. The idea is that it would act as motivation for people to put money back into domestic industries severely impacted by the pandemic. 

Trump has also proposed cutting unemployment benefits from $600 per week to $250 or $300 per week. This is an effort to incentivize unemployed people to find jobs. He has also suggested a trickle-down model wherein businesses would receive a tax credit that would replace the payments to individuals.

The HEROES Act

The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, passed the HEROES Act in mid-May, but the Senate has yet to vote on it. The bill includes a proposal for monthly payments to all Americans until the end of the pandemic. Payment guidelines are similar to those in its predecessor, the CARES Act, with a few key differences.

In the new plan, an added bonus for dependents will include children over 17, students, disabled relatives and elderly parents. Previously, only younger children were counted as dependents. Additionally, non-citizens who file taxes using a Tax Identification Number instead of a Social Security Number will be eligible for the stimulus payments. $600 weekly unemployment payments would also continue until 2021.

Both the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they will not support the HEROES Act in its current form. But all Washington leaders maintain that some form of relief legislation will be written by the end of July.

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