House Democrats just passed the $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill!
The bill passed with 14 Democrats voting “no” and one single Republican voting in favor.
Just before passing the bill, Democrats authorized proxy voting for future legislation and also were able to overcome the GOP’s push to ban illegal immigrants from receiving stimulus checks.
While it is good news that this bill has passed through the House of Representatives, it is clear that this thing, as drafted, is not going to pass in the Senate which is controlled by Republicans.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who managed the House floor debate for Republicans, stated, “It would make more to sense in my view, Madam Speaker, to send it straight to Santa Claus.”
But I think that most Democrats acknowledge that this is just the starting point for a debate that will likely prove to be intense.
I’m sure that many provisions in the bill will be dropped but the key provision that will allow a second round of stimulus checks is the one that we will be watching very closely and that we are currently unsure about.
With the White House recently supposedly expressing interest in supporting another round of checks, I think that signs are pointing to a favorable outcome but we will have to wait to see.
If you’re hoping to see a second round of stimulus checks there’s some good news.
House Democratic leaders just introduced the latest proposal for stimulus funding but unlike a lot of the proposals I have written about this proposal is actually going to be voted on on Friday. The bill, which is over 1,800 pages long, contains over $3 trillion worth of funding which is about 50% larger than the first CARES Act.
Significantly, this new stimulus package calls for an additional round of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per person. The payments would be largely the same as the last round — up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. It looks like the proposal might be asking for more funding for dependents, though.
The income thresholds are the same as the CARES Act allowing individuals to be eligible if they make between $75,000 and $99,000.
But there are lots of other elements wrapped up into this package.
Per NBC News, the $3 trillion legislation would also include funding for:
- Extending the $600 per week unemployment benefits in CARES 2 through January
- Nearly $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments
- Hazard pay for some essential workers
- Expanding coronavirus testing, contract tracing and treatment
- Enhancing tax credits for employers to keep workers on their payroll
- Providing full COBRA subsidies for those who lost their employer-provided health care coverage
- Additional money for the U.S. Postal Service
- $175 billion in support to help renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments.
Some of these will be very problematic when they arrive in the Senate such as additional money for the USPS and extended unemployment benefits. I don’t see any way that this entire package passes through the Senate without some significant reductions and additions like payroll tax cuts.
In fact, Michael Zona, a spokesman for Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the overall legislation “DOA in the Senate.”
But that doesn’t mean that all aspects of the bill will be dead on arrival.
The question is will another round of stimulus checks be problematic as well?
That is the million dollar question right now.
It’s too early to tell right now but I think one additional round of stimulus checks is much more realistic than six month payouts of $2,000.
So I think people should be excited that this package contains only one additional round of checks and not a long six months to one year proposal for payments.
This is really going to put a lot of pressure on Republicans and potentially even the president to get an additional round of funding passed. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out when the bill makes its way to the Senate, assuming the House passes it on Friday.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.