As we enter Memorial Day Weekend, we are now only about one week away from the Senate resuming negotiations and debates regarding a second stimulus check package.
At this point, we don’t know for sure whether or not the Senate will approve an additional round of funding for direct payments to Americans. There have been conflicting signals from members of the GOP party and also from the White House over the past couple of weeks.
In general, it sounds like they are open to the idea of more funding but that they have no intention of agreeing to a package as currently presented to them from Democrats.
In a best case scenario, a second round of stimulus checks could come out in the middle of June but I have a feeling things will be extended out due to disagreements over what the package should cover.
But there is support growing between Democrats and Republicans regarding a different type of “stimulus check” that could possibly go out.
Four senators have come up with a bi-partisan idea that would allow payments of up to $4,000 in tax credits to those who have lost their jobs because of issues related to coronavirus.
The senators include Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
The proposal will be called the “Skills Renewal Act” and what it would do is create a tax credit to cover the costs of training programs for building new skills that presumably will be in higher demand from employers going into the future.
Employees who lost jobs as a result of the coronavirus in 2020 would have access to this credit and they would have until the end of next year to get the training in order to receive it.
This credit would be fully refundable so even if you did not owe tax you could still receive it in full
Eligible programs would include traditional degrees, certificates, apprenticeships, and even distance learning.
This program would come at a time when low income workers have been hit the hardest.
Many high income jobs allow individuals to work 100% remotely and thus have had limited impact from the coronavirus.
But many lower paying jobs, especially those in the service industry, have been hit the hardest because things have been completely shut down.
I personally like the idea of giving people motivation and incentive to improve their skills. It’s a way to not only give people a way to better themselves in the long run but also stimulate the economy by having more skilled workers.
But this is more of a medium-term solution in my opinion.
People in need of stimulus checks, need funding now or in the next few weeks to months in order to avoid severe negative outcomes.
Finding the right training program requires a lot of time and then it takes additional time to actually complete the programs.
And these programs typically require you to pay upfront if you don’t have access to financial aid so this $4,000 credit would not necessarily benefit those who have the most need for a stimulus check right now.
So while I think it’s a great idea, I don’t think that this is a suitable alternative to completely replacing stimulus checks.
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.