Democrats continue to push back against opposition on stimulus bill

2/21/20 Update:

The House is preparing to vote this week on the next stimulus bill via a process known as budget reconciliation.

This process will allow Democrats to prevent a Senate filibuster and essentially allow them to pass the legislation without any Republican support.

There are still some members of the GOP trying to get Democrats to cut back on the stimulus checks.

However, Democratic leaders have become more vocal about the need for the $1,400 checks including Rep. Pamila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“If you raise those income thresholds, you’re going to cut out 40 million Americans who got a relief check under Donald Trump who won’t get a relief check under Joe Biden,” Jayapal said.

“That doesn’t make any political sense to me.”

“We just have people who are suffering, food banks with lines going around the block across the country,” she continued.

“We need to get money in people’s pockets. And this is the quickest way to do that.”

Democrats have also pointed to the popularity of stimulus checks and recent polls as yet another reason why they should be distributed.

But some in the GOP call the support into question and have essentially accused the polls of representing an overly biased stance (which makes sense).

“You don’t have to be a good pollster in Washington to ask the question, ‘Hey, would you like the federal government to send you a $3,500 check?’” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said.

“Of course the answer is going to be yes. If you said, ‘Do you want us to borrow that money from your children,’ because that’s what this is, I think their answer might be a lot different.”

“And especially if you told them a fact that there’s over a trillion dollars of money unspent from previous relief bills that were bipartisan.”

The spending concerns are very valid concerns but it doesn’t seem like Republicans have much of a say here.

Every indication is that this budget reconciliation method will go through and Democrats have the numbers to pass the legislation even if every Republican votes against it.

The lingering question will be what will happen to the increased federal minimum wage.

There may not be enough votes for Democrats to pass that measure (some moderates might not go for it) and there might even be legal technicalities that hold it up.

Either way, despite a lot of GOP opposition, I would expect the stimulus bill to pass the House next week in its current form or in a slightly modified form.

It will then be onto the Senate where the votes will be a little tighter but the bulk of the package will still probably go through.



2/20/20 Update:

Yesterday was a major day for the next stimulus package as a U.S. House of Representatives committee unveiled the legislation Democrats want to push forward.

The bill was put together by the House Budget Committee and it’s another large bill coming in at 591 pages.

You can find the full text here.

The bill contains major provisions for additional funding for medical supplies, vaccine distribution, $1,400 checks, extended federal unemployment benefits, aid to state and local governments, and other components.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes that they can get a vote to take place in the House by the end of next week.

It is expected that the House will pass the bill without any major issues and the latest indication from the Senate is that most measures will also pass.

I say “most” because there is still still some controversy over some of the measures like the increased minimum wage that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 by 2025.

If there is any major provision that gets dropped from the stimulus package, that will probably be it.

The goal at this point is for the bill to become law before March 14.

This means that the third round of stimulus checks could be going out around March 21.

So if you are individual that had your income go down in 2020, you likely want to file your taxes pretty quickly so that by the time the IRS calculates the amount due to you, they will see your lower 2020 income.



2/14/20 Update:

Things are starting to look a lot better for people hoping to receive an additional $1,400 stimulus check.

While nothing is set in stone, it’s looking more likely than ever that these checks will pass through the House and likely through the Senate as well via the budget reconciliation route.

Also, the impeachment trial of former President Trump is now over which should allow lawmakers to focus more on the coronavirus relief package.

Unfortunately, both the House and the Senate are on a scheduled break this week so it is doubtful that we will see major progress take place until February 22nd.

Democrats still hope that they will be able to pass the relief bill later this month and are aiming for the bill to get through the Senate and approved by the president by mid March.

March 14 is actually the unofficial deadline that lawmakers have set. In the past these unofficial deadlines have not been stuck to very closely but in this case, we might actually see lawmakers act before the deadline.

That’s because Democrats should have the numbers to push through certain provisions such as the stimulus checks.

Other measures, like the increased federal minimum wage, might get a little tricky because of the rules involved so we might see piecemeal legislation passed rather than one large comprehensive package.

Getting the relief package figured out by the March 14th date would put the next round of stimulus checks arriving in mid to late March to early April.


Democrats just pushed key provisions of the next $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan through a House committee, making the package containing $1,400 stimulus checks one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Ways and Means Committee approved this $940 billion piece of Biden’s proposal on a 25-18 party-line vote.

This happened right after the Education and Labor Committee approved an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over a five year timeline.

There is still a lot of doubt that the federal minimum wage bill will pass although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reassured reporters that it will.

“Yes it will. We’re very proud of that,” Pelosi said.

The wage increase likely stands a better chance of passing in the House but as far as it getting through the Senate, that might be a different story.

Other measures included in the hospital will provide billions of dollars in relief for state and local governments and also booster vaccination efforts. There is also a considerable increase in the tax credits for children and an increase in unemployment benefits.

Republicans are attempting to combat some of these measures with amendments although they have been unsuccessful so far.

They have pointed to weak spots in the package such as the effect that the minimum wage increase would have on small businesses and they have proposed alternatives like granting an exception to small businesses for the minimum wage.

We’ve seen data come out that talked about the millions of employees who will likely lose their jobs if the minimum wage is increased. So there are certainly some major cons to some of these proposals to consider.

“I don’t know if the White House knows this, but you’re supposed to be creating jobs, not killing them,” said Texas Rep. Kevin Brady.

By appealing to these opposing interests, Republicans are also setting themselves up for the midterm elections in 2022.

Despite the objections from the GOP, Democrats are hoping that they will be able to pass the relief bill later this month and are aiming for the bill to get through the Senate and on the president’s desk by mid March.

They don’t seem to be too keen on compromising so unless some of their proposals like the minimum wage increase violate Congress rules, we will likely see them make a full bush for them.



House pushes forward with $1,400 checks

Stimulus bill update on minimum wage increase

Biden confirms stimulus checks will be $1,400

Third stimulus check calculator (find out your payment)

February 19, 2020 update:

Lawmakers are still working out the details of the third stimulus check.

Initially, we saw a lot of different proposals for the third round which included much smaller checks and a highly targeted approach for people with lower incomes.

But it looks like the details finally started to get ironed out in the last few weeks (although this week not much has been done because lawmakers took the week off.)

The House Ways & Means Committee has already approved legislation that would include $1,400 checks.

Moreover, the bill could be passed via the budget reconciliation route which means that we could see this bill passed by the House by the end of the month.

It would then be off to the Senate with the hopes of getting it signed into law by the middle of March.

This new bill will likely authorize $1,400 checks for individuals and also an large increased allowance for each dependent.

The income cut off would be roughly the same as the first couple of rounds but there would be some differences in the phase out structure.

And because the amount for dependents would be going up, the amount you would be due could change significantly.

I would highly recommend that you use a calculator to estimate the payment due to you.

Not only will this be helpful in knowing what to expect but it can allow you to follow up with the IRS in case you were not given what you are due.

You can find the calculator for the third stimulus check here.


July 29, 2020 Update:

If you are curious to see what your second stimulus check payout would be based on the recent proposal by the Republicans in the Senate, there is a new calculator tool that you can use.

Based on the proposal that we have seen so far, most people will probably see the same payouts but the big difference is that dependents are not limited to those 17 or under.

This means that many high school juniors and seniors will be eligible for stimulus checks although the payment will not go directly to them. It also means that if you were taking care of elderly individuals, those should be factored into your next round of payments.

Keep in mind that this is not the final eligibility criteria. It’s very possible that Democrats could push back and try to expand the eligibility even more although I would not necessarily count on it getting through. We shall see, though.

Also, remember that if you are sent more money in your stimulus check than you are entitled to, you are allowed to keep those funds since it is considered a clerical error on behalf of the IRS.

May 29, 2020 original article:

If the second round of stimulus checks is passed, the eligibility will be different for this round. More people will be able to receive checks and certain types of individuals will receive more money, especially those wit dependents. If you want to find out what your expected payment would look like the second time around, check out the tool below.

New stimulus program benefits

Before diving right into the tool, keep in mind that there may be additional sources of revenue/savings included in this next stimulus package.

Hazard pay for frontline workers

$200 billion will be used to “ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay.”

With this hazard pay for frontline workers, employers will be able to apply for a $13 per hour premium on top of the employee’s normal salary, up to $10,000 per worker and $5,000 for high paid workers (people who make over $200,000 a year).

That could be a significant boost for many essential workers.

You might be wondering who qualifies as “essential” under this program. Well, we may have guidance. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided an advisory that outlines 17 categories of essential workers:

  1. Healthcare / Public Health
  2. Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders
  3. Food and Agriculture
  4. Energy
  5. Water and Wastewater
  6. Transportation and Logistics
  7. Public Workers and Infrastructure Support Services
  8. Communication and Information Technology
  9. Other Community or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions
  10. Critical Manufacturing
  11. Hazardous Materials
  12. Financial Services
  13. Chemical
  14. Defense Industrial Base
  15. Commercial Facilities
  16. Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services
  17. Hygiene Products and Services

So it seems like a ton of people could potentially qualify for this increased pay. In fact, some are worried that it would be too broad and run out of money like the PPP.

Unemployment benefits

If you are on unemployment, your unemployment benefits with the $600 boost could be extended until January 2021. This extension seems like it could be needed considering that Kevin Hassett, the senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, stated the unemployment rate could reach 20% by June.

Student loan benefits

The Act will also extend the suspension of student loans another year.

That in and of itself could be huge savings for people with large student loan payments. Keep in mind that with the suspension, interest does not continue to accrue. There will also be up to $10,000 in debt relief for certain types of student loan borrowers who are distressed.

Renter and mortgage relief

There is a substantial amount of funds dedicated to help out low income homeowners and renters.  The new law would also prohibit evictions or foreclosures for non-payment for up to one year.

So those are some of the additional benefits that the package could include.

I do not think all of those will be passed to be honest, though.

Based on what I’ve seen it does seem like there is a lot of bi-partisan interest in hazard pay for frontline workers so I could see that passing, though I do worry about it running out of money.

The extension of unemployment seems like it could face an uphill battle because many people are worried that it’s not providing the correct incentive for people to get back to work.

It seems likely that student loans will have payments suspended but the forgiveness aspect of that does not seem directly related to stimulating the economy in quick fashion so I have my doubts.

And finally there is the stimulus checks.

More interest has been expressed by Republicans and the White House over the past couple of weeks.

One of the most encouraging signals is now coming from President Trump who he stated:

“I think there will be a second payment to help Americans move on. We will give them money towards the end of the outbreak. Right now we are focusing on reopening the country.”

So I am starting to feel good about a second round. However, there are still reservations including some with Democrats in the Senate.

So when using the calculator below, you still can’t assume 100% that you will receive another check. And if that check comes, it’s also possible that it could be a few months away from being issued. So just keep those things in mind.

Stimulus check calculator

But here is the stimulus check calculator.

Second Stimulus Check Calculator – HEROES Act

Second Stimulus Check Calculator – HEROES Act


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