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If you were hoping for a second stimulus track to be hitting your account in the next few weeks, you may be a little bit disappointed.
That’s because the Senate is no hurry to pass another round of stimulus funding.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated there is no “urgency” to act and Senate Republicans are not planning to vote on any new relief until June.
As the Senate returns to vote and debates resume, here are some of the key issues that you want to keep tabs on.
Second round of stimulus checks
The first question is whether or not a second round of checks will be even be agreed to.
Since Democrats decided to propose a much more modest plan of only one second round of checks (versus an ongoing monthly payment system) I think the odds are much better that it will be agreed to.
If they do reach an agreement, then the next question to ask is will the modifications to eligibility be accepted?
There are several changes in eligibility that could make many more Americans eligible for checks the second round.
One of the biggest changes is increasing the amount for dependents from $500 to $1,200.
Other changes include things like allowing those who owe child support to receive funds and also providing funds to those who do not currently have a Social Security number. It seems to me that the GOP will not be on board with these new changes as some have already voiced their disagreement.
Other proposed changes
Other things to look out for in the new bill include:
- 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
- $175 billion in support to help renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments.
The $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments is definitely going to be one of the hottest debated provisions in this bill. After all, it’s about 1/3 of the total amount proposed.
According to RollCall, it’s $375 billion split equally between municipalities and counties, $20 billion for territories, and $20 billion for tribes. There’s also more for DC and when you factor in funds for Medicaid, education, housing and highways, the total tops $1 trillion.
The major opposition to this comes from GOP members who believe that states and cities that made poor fiscal decisions in the past would essentially be “bailed” out in this instance.
Student loan benefits
Another one of the contested issues may be the changes with student loan benefits.
Lawmakers have proposed to extend the suspension of payments until September 2021 which I think could be something that the GOP gets on board with.
But they also want to forgive $10,000 worth of student loans for certain individuals like those who currently are distressed. I think the GOP is going to take issue with those loan forgiveness requests and I would be surprised to see them pass.
Additional aid to the US Postal Service will also be a hotly contested issue as the president has made clear that he is not interested in signing any bills that provide aid to the USPS.
The financial difficulties faced by USPS have been going on for sometime and there are some extremely political issues behind a lot of those issues. But President Trump also has not been a fan of Amazon and their deal with the USPS. For all of those reasons, I would not expect funds to be given to the USPS in a package approved by the Senate.
The GOP is obviously in no hurry to resume debates and votes regarding a second round of potential stimulus checks. For that reason, and for all of the opposition that has been expressed in the past few weeks, I could see these debates getting stretched out much further than they did for the first round of checks.
I would not count on another round of checks happening at this point but there is still reason to be optimistic based on some support coming out of the White House and the need that so many Americans have.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.