Americans are still waiting to see if a second stimulus package will be approved by lawmakers, and they're hoping it will happen soon as President Trump's $300 unemployment benefit is expiring this week. According to Business Insider, the additional federal benefit that Trump signed executive orders for in August has reached its end. The extra money that nearly 30 million people on unemployment benefits have been getting will not continue, so those individuals will only receive what their state of residence has allocated to pay out for the foreseeable future.
The extra $300 federal unemployment benefit money came after an additional $600 provided by the first coronavirus stimulus bill, the CARES Act, expired at the end of July. Senate Republicans drafted a new bill — the HEALS Act — but Democrats felt that it did meet enough of the needs that Americans have amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so negotiations stalled and no agreement was settled on. This led to Trump signing the executive orders, which saw FEMA sending out extra unemployment benefit money to states that applied for it.
"I hear my millionaire colleagues on the Senate floor say, 'That $600 a week, we shouldn't be giving them that much money,'" Sen. Sherrod Brown says, discussing COVID-19 relief. "That $600 a week kept literally millions of people out of poverty."https://t.co/4zlp9yYmlf— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 14, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer had been engaged in stimulus bill negotiations with Trump administration officials, but the negotiations fell apart in August. GOP members, such as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have blamed the Democrats for holding up the bill. "Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program," McConnell tweeted after the Senate held a vote on a bill that did not include stimulus check payments. "Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election."
Notably, Senate hopeful Amy McGrath — who is running against McConnell for his Senate seat in Kentucky — responded to his comments. "Mitch wouldn't even allow a vote on hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID relief. He’s blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines & unemployment insurance for 116 days," she wrote. "His goal is clear: Do nothing, then point his finger in a desperate attempt to win this election."