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If you are like me, you probably cannot believe the news but lawmakers have added stimulus checks to a $900 billion relief package.
After all the back-and-forth and after excluding stimulus checks from multiple packages, all of a sudden as we approach the finish line lawmakers decided to add more checks.
Pretty remarkable stuff.
Here’s the thing, we don’t know the exact amount of the new stimulus checks.
Remember, we saw a proposal come from the White House offering $600 checks.
Back in March, stimulus checks totaling $1200 per person were issued based on income.
It’s possible that with the unemployment numbers not so bad and the vaccine right around the corner, lawmakers might feel that offering $600 is sufficient.
At the same time, there are a lot of lawmakers pushing for $1200 stimulus check so it’s also possible that we might see the same amount go out.
Either way, we know that Congress is trying to wrap up the steel by the end of the week so we should have details on the amount of the stimulus checks very very soon.
Last week two senators teamed up to make a strong push for more stimulus checks.
These two senators are an unlikely duo considering that they are on opposing sides of the aisle.
Senator Bernie Sanders is a Democrat known for his far left views and proposals while Senator Josh Hawley is a Republican who is emerging on the scene and might even be a presidential hopeful in 2024.
In the past, these two senators, who are about 40 years apart in age, have not agreed on much.
They had never signed onto a bill sponsored by the other. Hawley has voted for legislation backed by President Trump more than 85% of the time while Sanders has done so just 15% of the time.
So it says a lot that the two have come together in agreement on more direct payments to Americans.
But what is the status on their latest efforts to get more checks sent out?
Well, we know Congress introduced to new bills yesterday and neither of those bills included more stimulus checks.
These two senators have threatened to cause a government shut down if more stimulus checks do not get voted on and according to some lawmakers it is a real possibility that they could cause some problems for the next government funding bill.
When asked if these two could pose a problem for efforts to pass a government spending bill this week, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, replied, “That’s true.”
“That’s what we do is deal with problems around here,” he said.
So it appears that the two still have enough leverage to cause some people to listen.
But other lawmakers find it doubtful that more checks will find a way to be included into the new deal.
“I don’t think it’s going to be in the deal, so it would have to be in some separate vote that they would get a chance to vote on that. I’m not sure how that would happen at this point,” said Senator John Thune.
The deadline for the new spending bill and likely for the new stimulus is set for the end of this week.
Based on how slow these negotiations take place and all of the necessary back-and-forth it does not seem like that is enough time to get enough lawmakers to agree on more checks.
But Sanders has talked about extending negotiations to Christmas if needed.
“Congress cannot go home for the Christmas holidays until we pass legislation which provides a $1,200 direct payment to working class adults, $2,400 for couples, and a $500 payment to their children. This is what Democrats and Republicans did unanimously in March through the CARES Act. This is what we have to do today,” Sanders said.
So while the outlook does not look particularly encouraging for more stimulus checks, there is still a significant level of support for them within Congress.
I think it is just a question of whether or not we will see that support manifest in the stimulus bills coming out now or perhaps a little later.
My guess is on the latter.
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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.