There are a lot of questions up in the air for the U.S. government, but many desperate Americans have just one on their minds: Will there be another stimulus check before Dec. 31? The U.S. Congress returns to Washington, D.C., but so far they have been unable to negotiate a satisfactory compromise on the much-needed financial aid. Many analysts are now counting out the possibility of a major stimulus package.
According to a report by CBS News, economists are hanging their hopes on a scaled-down economic relief bill, but they do not expect it to match the CARES Act from back in March. That likely means that the stimulus check itself will be left out in favor of programs like unemployment, emergency coronavirus response funding and money for schools. This could be good news for some in dire straits — including millions of unemployed Americans whose benefits are running out — but for the average person hoping for a helping hand, the wait may drag on.
This is speculation of course, and there is always a chance that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled United States Senate will reach an accord. There is also a chance that they could pass a scaled-down package that does include a straightforward stimulus check. After all, the stimulus check is one of the few provisions both sides are generally agreed on.
However, even if Congress passes a bill within the remainder of its legislative session, Americans could be left waiting weeks for the check to clear. The stimulus check would be distributed by the IRS much like last time, and it would take weeks for that agency to make electronic deposits, and to mail out paper checks for those who prefer them.
It took the IRS months to distribute stimulus checks in the spring, infuriating many who were counting on that aid to see them through the pandemic. The process should theoretically go at least a little faster this time around since the agency has updated payment information for many citizens, but it would still be a monumental task.
In the meantime, individuals, families and businesses are all left in limbo, or worse. The pandemic is worsening all over the country, and unemployment rates are likely to follow that trend. Many Americans are fed up with the wait for financial aid, noting the programs other countries have deployed to help see their citizens through this crisis. The lame-duck congressional session begins on Monday, Nov. 30.